Council chiefs step in to support Washington care home after 'requires improvement' rating from CQC inspectors

Council bosses have stepped in to support a care home after it was ordered to improve by government inspectors.

Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 1:27 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th October 2019, 7:20 pm
Washington Manor Care Home. Picture c/o Google Streetview

Earlier this year, the Washington Manor Care Home in Concord was found to be in need of improvement after a visit from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Although the service was previously rated ‘good’, inspectors ordered improvements in terms of effectiveness, safety, care, responsiveness and leadership.

The inspection also saw the care home’s overall rating drop to ‘requires improvement’.

Issues included the management of medicines, lack of appropriate training for some staff, “chaotic record keeping” and risk management.

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A CQC report added the service did not effectively support people with risks around malnutrition and hydration, with some “not receiving supplements to their diets as directed by a healthcare professional.”

Commissioning manager at Sunderland City Council, Ann Dingwall, said the findings were “ not acceptable” with the council working with care bosses to monitor standards.

“Whilst it looks very poor on paper, I can assure you that the people within that service are safe and they’re making significant improvements to get that service back up to where it should be,” she said.

The care boss was speaking at the city council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee on October 2 during an update on the city’s care market.

Councillors were told the inspection happened after a change in care home management in early 2019.

Committee chairman, Coun Darryl Dixon, questioned why the drop in standards happened.

He also asked: “In general terms, how self-aware are providers that their services are below inspection and how receptive are providers to the action plans and interventions we would potentially make.”

Ann Dingwall said officers visited the home in January/February and found no issues – describing the shift as a “rapid decline.”

She added the care home was working to an action plan alongside visits from the council.

The commissioning boss said: “Historically, our inspections and own monitoring has ran alongside CQC’s outcomes, it’s very rare to have discrepancies between what we see and what CQC find.

“This is by no means acceptable and when this came to our attention, we were asking ourselves the same question, did we miss something, how has this happened, what has gone on?

“It’s only right that we check ourselves because we don’t want to become complacent and we revisited what we had done with this service.”

Addressing Coun Dixon, she added: “You’re right to raise it, the question is absolutely just.

“We asked ourselves that as a team in case we missed something, I don’t feel that we did I feel it was a rapid decline and CQC went out.

“Just as rapid as the decline was, I feel that to get them back up will be just as speedy.”

Washington Manor Care Home is run by St. Martin’s Care Limited and provides care for dozens of residents, including those living with dementia.

A total of 64 people were using the service at the time of the inspection.

Head of care services at St. Martin’s Care Limited, Melanie Burnett, said: “At St Martin’s Care we were highly disappointed with the overall rating that was awarded to Washington Manor Care Home, following a CQC inspection on March 12, 2019, the report was published in May 3 2019.

“We have worked in close partnership with the local authority and CQC to make improvements required.

“We have introduced a new internal compliance tool and governance system, which is being closely monitored by our new operations team, which is supporting the management of the home to maintain and sustain the high quality standards which we expect within St Martin’s Care Home Group.

“We have all confidence, we endeavour [for] a positive outcome for future inspections.”