Safety concerns see care home placed into special measures

Dorrington House in Watton.

Dorrington House in Watton. - Credit: Google

A Norfolk care home has been placed into special measures after concerns were raised about the safety of residents and staffing levels.

Dorrington House in Watton has been rated overall 'inadequate' following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in April.

The care home was rated 'inadequate' on being safe and well-led, as 'requires improvement' for being effective and 'good' on caring and responsive to people's needs.

In its report, the CQC said people were 'not living in a clean, well maintained and comfortable care environment and were not being protected from the risk of harm'.

Inspectors found there were not enough staff to 'keep people safe during the day and overnight', and that they were 'unfamiliar with people's needs'.

One relative told the CQC that staff seemed to be working "flat out" and the home was struggling with staffing, but did not feel it was impacting on the residents.

The Norwich Road home provides personal care and support for up to 52 older people, many of whom live with dementia.

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At the time of its inspection, 46 people were using its service.

The CQC report said people living with dementia had access to unsecured 'risk' items including denture cleaning tablets, prescribed creams and razors.

Inspectors witnessed lengthy medicine rounds and in one case a resident was "given out of date medicine".

And they also found staff were unsure about whether residents needed specialist diets or food, and that food was plated up to 30 minutes before eating.

The report also said equipment including wheelchairs and walking aids were poorly maintained and placed people at 'risk of harm'.

But feedback from residents' relatives about visiting was largely positive, with people saying they visited regularly and could see their loved ones inside and outside in the garden.

One said they felt they are visiting their relative at home rather than in 'an institution'.

And relatives also had raised no concerns about safety, with one saying their loved one has "done well" since living at Dorrington House and that they seem "content and happy".

Dorrington House runs three homes in Norfolk. It is the providers' Watton home that has been rated as inadequate.