The Conifers Residential Care Home in Rushden placed in special measures after being rated inadequate by CQC

Inspectors said it was ‘disappointing’ to see a deterioration in the level of care being provided despite telling them where they needed to improve at a previous inspection
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The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has rated The Conifers Residential Care Home in Rushden inadequate and placed it into special measures following an inspection in January.

The Conifers in Lodge Road, Rushden provides accommodation and personal care for up to ten people with mental health conditions, sensory impairments, physical disabilities, and those living with dementia.

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The inspection was prompted in part due to concerns received about the management of accidents and incidents in the service.

Inspectors have rated The Conifers Residential Care Home in Rushden as inadequate and placed it in special measuresInspectors have rated The Conifers Residential Care Home in Rushden as inadequate and placed it in special measures
Inspectors have rated The Conifers Residential Care Home in Rushden as inadequate and placed it in special measures

This inspection examined those risks and followed up on action the provider was told to take at the last inspection.

As well as the overall ratings drop from requires improvement to inadequate, how effective, caring and responsive the service is has dropped from good to requires improvement, and safe and well-led have dropped from requires improvement to inadequate.

This report has been published less than a week after another home run by Mrs M Mather-Franks, Highbury Residential Care Home in Rushden, was also rated inadequate and placed into special measures.

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Craig Howarth, CQC deputy director of operations in the Midlands, said: “When we inspected The Conifers Residential Care Home, it was disappointing to see a deterioration in the level of care being provided to people despite CQC telling them where they needed to improve at a previous inspection in April last year.

“It was concerning that the service wasn’t providing a safe environment and hadn’t acted upon fixing hazards which could hurt people, like covering hot water pipes, electrical wiring and heating equipment.

“In addition, medicines weren’t safely managed and there wasn’t always adequate staffing at night to meet people’s needs and keep them safe.

“It was also upsetting that people weren’t supported to develop and flourish. We observed people sitting for long periods of time doing nothing, with no activity offered to support their hobbies and wellbeing.

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“However, it was positive that systems were in place for people to have access to the healthcare support they required. Staff also worked well with external agencies including GPs, nurses, and speech and language therapists.

“Some staff were very caring towards people and talked about them with affection. They told us they thought of people living in the service being like family members.

“Leaders were receptive to the concerns we raised during the inspection and took some action to address the immediate concerns.

“We will continue to monitor the service to ensure all the necessary improvements are made. If we are not assured people are receiving safe care, we will not hesitate to take further action.”

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In response to the report, a spokesman for The Conifers told the Northants Telegraph: “We are disappointed with the outcome of the inspection, but we are determined to meet the actions that the CQC has asked us to take.

"We have embedded an action plan with regards to the issues raised and have already made immediate and significant changes.

"The well-being of the people we support is of the upmost importance to us and we are doing everything we can to provide them with empowered and fulfilling lives.

"We will continue to work closely with CQC and our stakeholders to ensure the well-being of our residents.”

Inspectors found:

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- Regular analysis of accidents and incidents, including where people had displayed emotional distress hadn’t been carried out to help improve people's care

- Staff were not sufficiently trained and supported to fully ensure the quality and safety of people's care

- Food was not handled safely. The provider's policy said food should be tested with a probe to ensure temperatures are above 80 degrees, but records showed some food had not been checked or showed food temperatures below 80 degrees

- People could not always take part in activities and pursue interests that were tailored to them

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- At the last inspection we identified mould in bathroom areas. We found some areas continued to have mould or stains present which placed people at risk of infection

- The service was not effectively managed or led. Systems and processes to assess, monitor and improve the quality and safety were not established

However, inspectors also said:

- People were supported to attend health appointments by staff who knew them well when needed

- Staff used a pictorial guide to demonstrate how Covid-19 testing is completed and why it is important. This was used when people were displaying symptoms to help put them at ease

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- People were involved in choosing their food and planning their meals. Staff held weekly meetings with them, where meal choices were discussed and planned for the upcoming week

People had key care information summary sheets, which they took with them, if they needed to transfer to another care provider

The report will be published on the CQC’s website today (April 26).

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