Westgate specialist care home put in special measures following CQC inspection

Former St Gabriel's House - Apartments in Westgate

A Westgate care home has been placed in special measures following an inspection by health watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

St Gabriel’s House – Apartments, in Elms Grove, has been rated as inadequate following an inspection in October. In 2020 the service, under a previous provider, was rated as Good.

St Gabriel’s House – Apartments is a care home providing personal care to seven people with a learning disability or autism at the time of the inspection. People’s accommodation was on the first floor of the building and split into two flats including communal areas.

The service was rated inadequate for being safe and well-led. Effective, caring and responsive dropped from good to requires improvement.

Debbie Ivanova, CQC’s director for people with learning disabilities and autistic people, said: “When we inspected St Gabriel’s House – Apartments, we found a service where the standard of care had deteriorated since our last inspection. People’s safety and wellbeing needs weren’t always being met, and risks weren’t effectively managed.

“People’s support plans didn’t set out their long-term aspirations or goals and there was no data about how people were progressing with their hobbies, interests or daily living achievements.

“Currently, we are considering what further action we may wish to take at St Gabriel’s House – Apartments. In the meantime we will continue to monitor the service closely to ensure people are safe. If we are not assured people are receiving safe care, we will not hesitate to take further action.”

Inspectors found:

  • The provider had failed to ensure medicine checks were undertaken effectively to identify shortfalls, errors and omissions.
  • There were not enough permanent staff employed at the service – many staff had gone after previous registered manager left.
  • The provider had failed to implement effective systems and processes to ensure people’s support plans and risk assessments were reviewed and updated regularly.
  • The provider did not have enough staff with the appropriate skills to communicate effectively with people, as the agency staff did not have British Sign Language.
  • The provider had completed one quality audit, but no work had been undertaken to rectify any risks. Quality audits are an effective way to identify shortfalls and poor quality of risk assessments and support plans.

The inspector noted: “There had been no effective system in place to keep people safe from discrimination and abuse.

“There had been five incidents of aggression between people when one person had moved into the service, including throwing a drink at another person and grabbing their jumper. These had not been reported to the local safeguarding authority as required for investigation. Action had not been taken immediately to reduce the risk of the incidents occurring again and they continued until the person settled into the service.”

More positive aspects in the report noted that people were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests.

Inspectors said people were able to personalise their rooms and staff supported people to play an active role in maintaining their own health and wellbeing.

The report says: “During the inspection we observed staff treating people with respect, people were supported to spend time in the way they wanted. Staff knew when people needed their space and privacy and respected this.

“People were supported to be as independent as possible in daily activities such as assisting in cleaning their room and doing their washing.

“People were observed in the kitchen being supported by staff to make their breakfast. Regular staff knew how to support people to be independent with their personal hygiene and express their gender in the way they preferred.”

The CQC says the care home must provide an action plan to show what they will do to improve the standards of quality and safety.

Being in special measures mean the service will be kept under review and, if the CQC does not propose to cancel the provider’s registration, officers will re-inspect within 6 months to check for significant improvements.

If provider Achieve Together has not made enough improvement within this timeframe and there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall rating, the CQC will take action in line with enforcement procedures and begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service.