'Unsafe, undignified' Northampton care home with critical short staffing problems branded inadequate by watchdog

Argyle House Care Home has been branded inadequate by the healthcare watchdog.
Argyle House Care Home has been branded inadequate by the healthcare watchdog.

A critically-understaffed Northampton care home has been given six months to improve or it could face closure.

Argyle House Care Home, off Harlestone Road, has been branded 'inadequate' by the healthcare watchdog after inspectors found patients’ dignity and safety fell short across the board.

The report by the CQC - which was published on November 10 - says the house is suffering from such short staffing that it has impacted every area of care, leading to loneliness, poor hygiene and some patients only having 'one shower a month.'

The watchdog has dropped the home into special measures and given registered manager Paramjit Kaur and her team six months to improve.

The report reads: "People had experienced and were at risk of experiencing unsafe care and treatment. People's dignity was not being maintained at the service and their privacy was not always respected.

"The shower in one area of the home was malodorous and the paintwork was flaking off the wall [...] People were left in an unkempt state, in wet beds and were not provided with personal care as often as they wished [...] We saw that one person had spilt their drinks in bed. Staff had been into their room, but they did not support the person to change their clothing and bedding; the person was left lying in the drink that had spilled for a long period of time."

The unannounced inspection in September was prompted in part by an incident that led to the death of a service user.

A criminal investigation was launched in response to the incident, but a police spokeswoman confirmed no criminal wrongdoing was found by the force.

Inspectors repeatedly noted that understaffing was a serious issue at the home, and notes how patients were often left unsupervised for long periods of time while staff tried to see to everyone.

Residents at the home told inspectors: "The staff try their best, they are so busy with other people and they are so under-staffed,

"There is no time to spend with the residents and I think loneliness is a real issue."

One resident even said: "They [staff] don't seem to have time to shower me, I'm lucky if I get one once a month."

Argyle House has beds for a maximum of 87 people.

It will be reinspected in six months time.