Care Quality Commission
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CQC tells Devon County Council to improve services

The Care Quality Commission has told Devon County Council that it must take action to improve services at three of its care homes to comply with essential standards of quality and safety.

Inspectors visited four homes unannounced, speaking to residents and staff. Full reports have been published on the CQC website.

Orchard Lea care home at Cullompton is registered to provide care for up to 26 older people. Inspectors found that the home was meeting all the essential standards of quality and safety that they reviewed.

Alphin House in Exeter provides accommodation for up to 35 older people. Inspectors found that the care home was not compliant with five standards:

  • Care and welfare of people who use services: Inspectors said that delays in treatment were putting people's health at potential risk. Identified risks to people's health and welfare were not well documented and records did not show what support has been received or that appropriate and consistent support has been provided.
  • Management of medicines: The home’s medication was not administered or managed in a robust way, which meant that there can be delays and unsafe practice.
  • Staffing: The current staffing arrangements did not always ensure that people's health and welfare needs are fully met.
  • Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision: The home did not have a robust quality assurance system so necessary improvements to the service are not always recognised and addressed.
  • Records:   Records were not always kept up to date or were not complete.

Arthur Robert House in Burnthouse Lane, Exeter, provides care and accommodation for up to 23 older people with dementia or mental health needs. It was not compliant with seven standards:

  • Respecting and involving people: Inspectors found that there were staff who were kind, caring and sensitive to respecting and involving people.  But, people living at Arthur Roberts did not experience a consistent approach by staff, which meant that they are not always treated with respect, and some current practices undermine people’s dignity.
  • Consent to care and treatment: The home does not have systems in place to ensure that people’s ability to make decisions is assessed.
  • Care and welfare of people: Staff recognised when to report concerns and seek advice from health professionals. However, there were inconsistencies in the way that risks were identified and dealt with. People are generally at ease with staff but the environment is not stimulating and people are not supported to reach their potential.
  • Safety, availability and suitability of equipment: Equipment was well maintained but some staff were not confident in the use of moving and handling equipment. Inspectors said this had the potential to put people at risk.
  • Supporting workers: Records showed that some staff had not received recent training to update their practice. There was a lack of supervision, including observation, which meant that poor practice or lack of knowledge was not always addressed.
  • Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision: The home did not have a robust quality assurance system so necessary improvements to the service are not always recognised and addressed.
  • Records: Records were not always kept up to date or properly recorded in the first place. Care plans were inconsistent.

Exebank care home in Exeter caters for up to 30 people who require rehabilitation and respite services.     Inspectors said that improvements were needed in respect of five standards: consent to care and treatment, care and welfare of people, management of medicines, safety and suitability of premises, and records.

Bernadette Hanney, acting Regional Director of CQC in the South West, said that Devon County Council had been asked to provide plans showing how it would achieve full compliance. Inspectors had already met with the council to discuss their concerns and would continue to monitor the homes closely.

She said: “By law, providers of certain adult social care and health care services have a responsibility to make sure they are meeting essential standards of quality and safety. These are the standards everyone should be able to expect when they receive care.

“We have told the provider where they need to improve and our inspectors will follow up to ensure those improvements are made. If we find that the services do not make progress, then we will consider further action.”

For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9401 or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

Notes to editors

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of all health and adult social care in England. Our aim is to make sure that better care is provided for everyone, whether it is in hospital, in care homes, in people’s own homes, or anywhere else that care is provided. We also seek to protect the interests of people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act. We promote the rights and interests of people who use services and we have a wide range of enforcement powers to take action on their behalf if services are unacceptably poor.

Under a new regulatory system introduced by government, the NHS, independent healthcare and adult social care must meet a single set of essential standards of quality and safety for the first time. We register health and adult social care services if they meet essential standards, we monitor them to make sure that they continue to do so and we respond quickly if there are concerns that standards are not being maintained.  We do this by closely monitoring a wide range of information about the quality and safety of services, including the views of people who use services, and through assessment and inspection The feedback from people who use services is a vital part of our dynamic system of regulation which places the views, experiences, health and wellbeing of people who use services at its centre.

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