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Council-run care home for elderly and residents with dementia is ‘unsafe’

De Lacy Gardens.
De Lacy Gardens.

A council-run service which looks after elderly people and residents with dementia has been told it is “not safe”.

De Lacy Gardens in Pontefract has 45 apartments for pensioners and people with various conditions, who live independently but share facilities including a lounge, dining room and gardens. The council delivers treatment and nursing to its residents, who can access help 24/7.

But the service has been told to improve by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), despite praising staff for the way they care for patients and managers for their transparency.

Following a visit by inspectors in June, the health watchdog said that the way medicines were managed was  “not always safe or effective” and that details of some people’s allergies were missing from their care plans.

The CQC’s report said that “opportunities were missed” in trying to stop patients repeatedly falling.

It said: “There was an overview spreadsheet which briefly summarised incidents. However, there was no evidence to show these had been analysed to look for patterns and trends and what action had been taken to prevent incidents reoccurring.

“For example, one person had fallen but there was no evidence to demonstrate what action had been taken to prevent falls reoccurring, this was despite the form being signed off by a manager.

“Looking through this person’s care records we established they had

been ‘found on the floor’ four months earlier.”

Inspectors added that care plans were not always tailored to individuals and lacked important information. In one case, it said “The full extent of one person’s visual impairment was not reflected within their care record”.

However, residents and their families were full of praise for the way they were cared for and people were “complimentary” about staff.

The report said: “Staff involved people in making decisions about their care, support and treatment as far as possible. For example, staff told us people were able to make changes to their care package.

“Relatives commented staff knew and understood their relatives’ needs and encouraged their independence. People told us staff understood their needs and treated them with dignity and respect.”

The service was rated ‘good’ on two of the five criteria used by the CQC, but graded ‘requires improvement’ on the other three.

Rob Hurren, the council’s service director for integrated care said: “Making sure that people receive good quality care is always the most important priority for us.

“The CQC have acknowledged that the service at De Lacy Gardens is ‘good’ for being caring and effective and we are now working to make improvements to the overall rating for the service. We have already submitted an action plan to the CQC to ensure that the service meets all required standards from now on.

“We are pleased however that our reablement services at Hazel Garth and Waterton House have received ‘good’ ratings from the CQC and we’re working to ensure that De Lacy Gardens matches these important standards.”