Damning watchdog report places Northampton care home in special measures

Helping hands
Helping hands

A care home in Northampton has been placed in special measures after a damning watchdog report found residents were kept locked in at all times - and no evidence of a fire drill having taken place.

The Care Quality Commission carried out an audit of Maranatha Housing and Support Limited’s Ecton Brook home on November 9 last year.

In a highly critical report released this week, the watchdog has rated the home on Snowbell Square in Ecton Brook “inadequate,” claiming the manager and staff simply “did not understand their responsibilities as defined by the Mental Capacity Act 2005.”

Among the criticisms, the QQC said: “People were being restricted from leaving the service as the doors to the property were kept locked at all times, these locks required a key which was managed by staff, and therefore people were dependent on staff to allow them to leave.”

It went on to say this restriction had “not been risk assessed or considered in relation to people’s rights and freedoms.”

The report adds records at the home were “disorganised” and staff had not received formal training in fire awareness, noting there “had not been any fire drills” nor was there was a system in place to check fire alarms or fire safety equipment was working.

There was no evidence of training in first aid, manual handling of the residents, food safety, infection control and health and safety. The inspection also found staff gave out medicines in accordance with people’s prescriptions, though none of its employees had received training in medicines management.

And it stated residents “were not always safeguarded from harm” as the provider “did not have systems in place to prevent, recognise and report any suspected signs of abuse.”

The facility has been placed under strict observations for the next six months after which another inspection could be carried out.

If significant improvements have not been made this could lead to the providers having their registration cancelled.

While the management of the home and its safety measures came under scrutiny, the CQC inspectors did observe staff to be caring.

The report states: “One person told us they liked the staff, they described them as “very nice” and said they enjoyed being with them; they spoke fondly of the activities they enjoyed with particular staff such as going out for walks.”

It added that the manager and staff knew the residents well and had a good knowledge of people’s individual personal care needs that helped them to manage people’s complex behaviours.

Staff were flexible about their shifts and ensured people had the means to carry out their chosen activities.

The QQC report comes days after Northamptonshire County Council announced plans to shut nearby Ecton Brook House, run by Olympus Care. The council said it would look at ways of re-homing the 34 residents affected by the closure in nearby facilities.

Attempts have been made to contact the care home.