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Service designAug 8, 2022

Fears that resident would have missed physiotherapy slots without friend's intervention: CQC report

Physiotherapy is top of the list of 14 ‘facilities and services’ available to adults with physical health problems – some of whom have autism or learning disabilities – at the 36-bed Leonard Cheshire Disability-run Agate House in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.

The impressive-looking list features prominently on the care and nursing home’s website. Unfortunately, visitors to the site are unlikely to miss another, less positive item: Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors rated the home as being ‘inadequate’ in a report published last week (5 August).

The report’s findings generally make grim reading. There is, for example, a damning comment in a section focusing on how well staff work with other agencies to provide ‘consistent, effective, timely care’, and how well residents are supported to ‘live healthier lives, access healthcare services and support’. The CQC report notes: ‘Relatives raised concerns about staff not working with other professionals to support people effectively.’

A resident's friend ensured physio sessions took place by going to the home (stock image)


Resident 'could have missed physio sessions' 

One person's friend explained they came in to make sure the person completed their physiotherapy exercise as directed by a health professional. This was because they were not assured staff would do this

The CQC report provides several examples of evidence to substantiate this claim, such as: ‘One person's friend explained they came in to make sure the person completed their physiotherapy exercise as directed by a health professional. This was because they were not assured staff would do this.’

In the same section, inspectors report hearing from a relative who said a resident had lost the ability to complete a task independently. The relative said: ‘I pointed this out to staff, and they made a referral to [health professional] but it was far too late by then.’

One relative had they had witnessed a resident’s health getting worse but said staff had ‘no plan’ and ‘just logged it down’. Eventually, the relative took their family member to the GP themselves.

Is the service 'caring'?

In a later section titled ‘Is the service caring?’, the report notes: ‘People did not know when they would be receiving specific therapy support and told us limited staff availability often caused this.’ Residents often stayed in their rooms, the inspectors found: ‘Social events were poorly attended and often did not make sense to people using the service. For example, a 'Pilates' class which was to last one hour only lasted 12 minutes.’

Second 'inadequate' rating in a row

It is the second time that inspectors have given Agate House a rating ‘inadequate’, and it therefore remains in ‘special measures’, the CQC announced.

The service was previously rated inadequate and placed in special measures following an inspection in October 2021, which identified concerns over staffing levels and standards of care.

Inspectors hoped they would have seen improvements in the latest inspection, but insetad found that there were still not enough staff to meet residents’ needs in a safe way, and that residents were not being supported to live independent and fulfilling lives.

As well as being rated inadequate overall, the service was rated as inadequate in terms of being safe, effective, caring, responsive to people’s needs and well-led.

Closure a possibility

The CQC said it would continue to monitor Agate House closely and, if significant improvements aren’t made, enforcement action will be taken – which could lead to the closure of the service.

Louise Broddle, CQC head of inspection for adult social care, said:‘We found people spent large amounts of time alone and were left waiting for meals or for personal care because there weren’t enough staff to support them. People didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy activities or interests that would add meaning to their lives and were at risk of becoming socially isolated.'

She added: ‘There was a real lack of person-centred care and a risk of a closed culture at this service, which is of real concern.'

Inspectors found people were often left feeling bored due a lack of meaningful activity or interaction, and one person told CQC inspectors that unless a relative came to visit, they would be left in front of the television. However, some staff members spoke about people in a kind and compassionate way and clearly knew them as individuals. People could personalise their bedrooms to promote their individuality, and were able to make some daily choices, such as what to eat and drink, the report added.

To read the report in full, visit: https://www.cqc.org.uk/location/1-120087522

To visit Agate House's website, go to: https://www.leonardcheshire.org/get-support/living/care-homes/agate-house-ampthill

Author: Ian A McMillan
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