Shefford care home goes into special measures

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A Shefford care home has been placed in special measures following an inspection by the health watchdog.

The Birches Residential Home, on Hitchin Road, was found to be ‘inadequate’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in three key areas.

Inspectors said the home was not safe, effective or well-led and said that its caring and responsiveness requires improvement.

The home, which is owned by Central Bedfordshire Council, looks after older people living with dementia who may also have physical disabilities.

In an unannounced inspection on June 27, there were 26 residents. The inspector’s report states: “Incidents of potential abuse were not always treated as such, safeguarding alerts were not raised in response to harm.

“Risk assessments were in place but were not robust. They were not up to date and did not reflect current levels of risk to people.”

The report also said that the principles of the Mental Capacity Act and the Deprivation of Liberty safeguards were not followed and documentation failed to demonstrate that people had agreed to their care and support arrangements.

“Staff members did not receive regular supervision or appraisal. However training was carried out,” the report says.

But staff were praised for the way they treated residents.

“Staff members treated people with kindness and compassion and worked to develop positive relationships with them. People’s privacy, dignity and respect were promoted by the service.”

The home will now be inspected before the end of the year.

If services have not improved inspectors have the option to take enforcement action.

Last month a Gamlingay care home was closed after court action by the CQC.

Central Bedfordshire Council entered into a consultation on the future of The Birches earlier this year. Options included moving residents to a different care home, selling the care home to another provider or leaving it open. A decison is expected soon.

Julie Ogley, Director of Social Care, Health and Housing at Central Bedfordshire Council, said of the report: “I was surprised and very disappointed by the inspector’s conclusions as residents in the home and their relatives speak positively about the kindness and dedication of the staff. We are confident that at no time was the immediate care or safety of residents at risk but we accept the inspector’s findings and are taking immediate action to address the failings identified. We are meeting with residents and relatives to explain the actions we have already taken and our future plans.”