Care home rated inadequate and put into special measures

Chilton Meadows care home, in Onehouse, has reported 10 deaths from coronavirus and a further 15 cas

Chilton Meadows care home - Credit: Gregg Brown

A Suffolk care home has been put into special measures and rated inadequate by inspectors, who found that one resident had lost 17.9% of their body weight in three months.

Chilton Meadows care home, in Stowmarket, was visited by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in March.

The unannounced visit resulted in the home being rated inadequate, having previously been rated good, and meaning people under its care were not considered to be safe and were at risk of avoidable harm.

The two-day inspection had been prompted by concerns over a high number of falls and serious incidents.

A subsequent report said one resident had lost 17.9% of their body weight in three months and that staff were not recording their food intake.

Inspectors observed potential burn risks from exposed hot radiator pipes and water that reached scalding temperatures. 

They found ineffective management and medicine administration record-keeping in two of the home's four units, which provide personal and nursing care to 120 older people.

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Residents were left in unstaffed communal areas and were not engaged in any meaningful activity.

Inspectors found that the manager had taken some action in response to Suffolk County Council safeguarding team concerns about the number of falls and incidents, leading to an improvement in care planning and a reduction in falls.

Systems and processes had also been put in place to safeguard people from the risk of abuse.

However, the CQC said the service had a history of non-compliance and had only been rated 'good' at one of five inspections since 2015.

The watchdog said it had not been not assured of appropriate oversight and management to ensure people consistently received safe care which met their needs. 

The home will be kept under review and re-inspected within six months if the CQC does not propose cancelling the provider's registration.

Since the inspection, Bupa said it had covered exposed pipes and fixed the water system, recruited new staff and delivered targeted training, brought in additional support for the management team, and refreshed its approach to providing meaningful activities for residents.

Barry Yarnley, managing director for Chilton Meadows, said: "We’re committed to providing quality care, and had a detailed improvement plan already in place at the home.

"This has been accelerated in the three months since the inspection and we have made significant improvements.

"Suffolk’s local authority team has confirmed these changes have already had a positive impact, and we are working together to implement long-term outcomes.”


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