Keynsham care home placed in special measures

A CARE home in Keynsham has been placed in special measures after being rated as inadequate.

Inspectors found dirty and smelly bedrooms, traces of dried faeces, and medicine not being stored properly at Hillsborough House in Charlton Road.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) made the unannounced visit in April after concerns were raised about safeguarding and cleanliness.

The home is run by the Freeways Trust, whose CEO Claire Hayward said she was “deeply disappointed” by the findings.

She added: “This is a wake-up call to all of us in the Freeways organisation.”

Hillsborough House provides personal care to autistic people, those with a learning disability, mental health needs, physical disabilities and sensory impairment, and older people.

Following the inspection, the service’s overall rating has dropped from good to inadequate, as has the rating for how safe and well-led it is.

The service has now been placed in special measures. The CQC said if it did not see sufficient improvement, it would consider what further action to take.

Rebecca Bauers, CQC’s director for people with a learning disability and autistic people, said: “Poor leadership had undermined the standards of care people were receiving, and they weren’t safe because they were at risk of avoidable harm.

“We saw basic issues like people’s safety in the event of a fire not being considered because the provider didn’t carry out things like required fire drills every three months, despite being told previously we had concerns.

“Despite the best efforts of staff, who were kind and caring, both they and people who called Hillsborough House home were being let down by poor leadership.

“The culture at the service wasn’t dignified, with people being expected to live in a dirty, unpleasant-smelling environment that posed an infection risk.

“We found dried faeces on a banister, stained surfaces throughout, and unknown residues and debris on walls and floors. People’s bedrooms were also dirty and smelled of bodily fluids. Staff told us they didn’t have time to clean.

“People’s oral hygiene wasn’t being supported and as a result and in one case, urgent emergency treatment was required.”

After feedback during the inspection, some changes were made, including arranging for a deep-clean, for a fire-risk assessment to be undertaken with an external contractor, and amendments to how medicines were stored.

But Ms Bauers said much more that needs to be addressed.

She added: “We won’t hesitate to take further action to keep people safe, which may include preventing them from operating.”

Inspectors found that one person had lost a significant amount of weight over two months because no risk assessment or review of their care needs had taken place.

Medicines were not stored or managed safely. For example, one person’s ear spray, which should have been sprayed in each ear once a week, was administered daily over 27 days.

One person’s bedroom smelled strongly of urine and their toilet was stained black. Another bedroom had dried faeces on the floor and chest of drawers.

Laundry was stored near a communal toilet and in baskets in the communal dining area, which increased the risk of infection.

People had mixed experiences of being supported to access activities, hobbies and interests in the community, with some saying they didn’t get out very often.

However, inspectors saw kind and caring interactions between people and staff. Overall, people were supported to have maximum control over their lives in the least restrictive way.

Freeways CEO Claire Hayward said it was the first time in the trust’s 35 years of providing support that any of its services had been rated as inadequate.

Although Freeways took some encouragement that a more recent visit by a local authority commissioner recognised the “significant remedial action” and noted further scheduled improvements, “we haven’t reached the standards of excellence we set ourselves.”