Care home told it must improve further despite no longer being ‘inadequate’
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A report by the Care Quality Commission ruled that Highfield Care Centre in Allerton Bywater was no longer in breach of care regulations, but that the service was still rated as “requires improvement”.
The home provides care for up to 88 older people, some of whom need dementia care.
The report, which followed an inspection in June 2022, added management was “inconsistent” and workers at the home often found their jobs difficult due to the heavy reliance on agency staff.
On safety, the provider was found to have “failed to maintain accurate records for people” at the last inspection in August 2021, breaching regulation 17 of the Health and Social Care Act regulations.
Following the inspection this summer, the report stated: "The service management and leadership was inconsistent. Leaders and the culture they created did not always support the delivery of high-quality, person-centred care.
“We found improvements had been made and the provider was no longer in breach of Regulation 17.
“The provider was in the process of addressing maintenance issues. At the previous inspection the provider was failing to maintain the home, at this inspection there was ongoing building work to improve the service.
“The provider had oversight of the maintenance of the service. There was a refurbishment plan in place and regular checks of the buildings and the equipment were carried out to keep people safe.
“Risks were assessed appropriately. The service had measures in place to manage risk associated with eating, drinking, mobility and skin integrity.
“Staff were aware of people's risks and how to keep them safe. We observed members of staff using de-escalation techniques to reduce one person's agitation.”
It added that relatives inspectors spoke with praised the staff for their ability to keep their loved ones safe.
The previous report also stated that the provider in breach of staffing regulations.
The new report said: "Staffing levels were safe. The provider used a dependency tool to calculate staffing levels and staffing rotas indicated staffing levels were always above minimum.”
However, it added that the service relied heavily on agency staff, which caused difficulties with existing staff.
The report stated: “One staff member said ‘It can be difficult working with so much agency, they don't know the people’.
“There were enough staff employed to ensure people's needs were being met.”
It added staff were recruited safely and the provider had recruitment checks in place to ensure staff were suitable to work in a care setting.
It also found the provider was no longer in breach of medicines regulations, adding: “Medicines were managed safely. The provider had implemented systems since our last inspection which promoted safer administration, storage and disposal of people's medicines.
On patient safety, the report added: “We were somewhat assured the provider was promoting safety through the layout and hygiene practices of the premises. The building was clean and tidy, however we found some gaps on cleaning records, this was raised with the registered manager who took immediate action to address the issue.”
Burlington Care, which runs the care home, has been approached for a comment.