Seaside care home slammed after Covid rules not followed

Elm Tree residential home

Elm Tree residential home in Elm Tree Avenue, Frinton-on-Sea, has been rated 'inadequate' by health inspectors - Credit: Google Maps

A care home for people with dementia is in special measures after inspectors raised fears over infection control during Covid-19.

Care Quality Commission inspectors visited Elm Tree, in Frinton-on-Sea, in December and published their findings in a report this week.

The 46-bed home was rated 'inadequate' with particular concerns about safety and leadership, down from the second-highest rating of 'good' awarded in March 2020.

Although the home had no outbreak of coronavirus inspectors were concerned it was not following up-to-date Government guidance on operating safely with fears staff were not wearing PPE effectively.

Some staff were wearing reusable masks rather than surgical ones and wearing them inside out, inspectors said, while some with direct contact with residents were not sanitising their hands between interactions.

Social distancing was not always adhered to either, they said, with people sat too closely together at mealtimes putting people at risk of catching Covid.

Inspectors also said new residents were not being isolated in line with Government guidance and some staff were not working exclusively at the home.

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Tania Warner, care home manager, said all staff wear disposable masks that are changed regularly throughout the day, with a supply available around the home, adding that employees have received training on hand hygiene with all care staff given their own supply of sanitiser.

She also said when residents sit in the dining room there are two to a table, and in the communal lounge they sit apart to reduce the risk of infection. And she said no new residents have been admitted to the home since December, with admissions required to isolate for 14 days depending on Covid results, adding that the home has also recruited new staff.

Inspectors praised care plans as supporting individual needs, said staff were recruited safely and that feedback on residents' meals was positive. But they also said medicines were not always managed safely, adding that not all staff felt supported or valued.

Care bosses said training has been rolled out for staff managing medicines, adding that new management is now in place with employees clear that "the door is always open" in the event of any problems.

The CQC will re-inspect within six months to check if the required improvements have been made.