CQC inspectors find care home resident in bed with pillow over their face and another in wet clothes during inspection
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They found that staff shortages are putting residents’ health and safety at risk since the attention and care they received was not enough “to safely support people” and ensure their needs were always met. Emsworth House Close, in Havant Road, Emsworth, received a rating of ‘requires improvement’ from the Care Quality Commission.
The Hampshire County Council-run home has been rated ‘requires improvement’ for the last three consecutive inspections – the previous to the last one was on September 5, 2019.
The staff shortage is risking residents’ health and safety, the report said.
The officers report says: ‘For example, we saw one person in bed with a pillow over their face, another person in wet clothes, a third trying to eat their meal without success and a fourth saying they were “bored just sitting here”.
‘We were required to seek staff support for people on a number of occasions. This was mainly because the staff were busy undertaking tasks and were unaware of the help people needed.’
Staff told officers there was insufficient staff and the high agency use ‘impacted on people and staff’.
In addition, not knowing the residents prevents them from offering the best care since they do not know their tastes or needs in depth.
Comments included: ‘It’s [staffing] a bad situation. It’s stressful as staffing with agencies puts more pressure on permanent staff. Almost every day, agency staff are on shift, and it can be mainly agency.’
‘Some days, it’s hard to come into work because you don’t know what you’re up against. Staffing is our biggest issue; there’s not enough.”
People and relatives’ feedback about staffing also raised concerns. One told the CQC: ‘They [Emsworth House] are so short-staffed most of the time. Everybody suffers. Badly need more staff,’ and ‘The biggest problem I can see is that there is not enough staff. Mainly agency staff in charge, so they haven’t known her [Person’s name] long enough to know how to handle her.’
The report also shows that rooms were not secured so residents could have access to dangerous substances that could cause severe damage or even death.
‘People had access to areas where they could be harmed or injured. We found several rooms and storage areas were left unlocked, containing items that could be a danger to people.
‘Tubs of thickening powder had not been stored safely and were accessible to people. Harm or death can be caused by the accidental swallowing of thickening powder, and NHS England issued a patient safety alert about this in 2015.’
Despite this, people and their relatives provided positive feedback about the caring nature of the permanent staff.
One resident said: ‘I’ve lived here for over a year now. I love it here and the staff and other people who live here. I’m looked after and I’ve got my own warm room.’
The home is Hampshire County Council accommodation and nursing that provides care for up to 79 people. The council has been contacted.
To tackle the actual national shortage crisis, the county council approved in its last budget (February 23) a new capital spending of £645.3m over the next three years to boost jobs in the local authority.
At the Hampshire 2050 Corporate Services and Resources, Select Committee held on January 19, deputy director for people and organisation Stephanie Randall said that ‘even supermarkets are competing against the county council for recruits’.
‘Recruitment to vacant roles continues to present challenges for services across the whole directorate which is driven by demand for the associated skillsets in the wider market and shortage of a suitably qualified workforce from which to draw upon.’
‘Every role in the organisation has a meaning. To deliver quality jobs, we need people so the chain works properly,’ she added.
The people and organisation budget for 2023/2024 allocated more than £6m to HR Operational Services.
A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council, said: ‘We acknowledge the CQC’s inspection report in respect of Emsworth House Care Home and we are working closely with the manager and staff to ensure that the required improvements are actioned as a priority. The safety, security and wellbeing of all individuals in our care is always our utmost priority. We have taken prompt action to address the immediate concerns that were raised which includes, but is not limited to, providing the home’s team with additional specialist staff from across our wider care home group of which 22 of 23 are CQC rated good. We have also organised additional ongoing support and training at all levels, including from experienced senior professionals to oversee the improvement programme.’