Care home inspected before lockdown put in special measures over ‘serious safety concerns’

PUBLISHED: 06:00 11 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:35 11 April 2020

Alice Grange Care Home in Kesgrave, which has been placed in special measures Picture: ARCHANT

Alice Grange Care Home in Kesgrave, which has been placed in special measures Picture: ARCHANT


A Suffolk care home is now in special measures after an inspection before the coronavirus lockdown found residents were put “at risk of avoidable harm”.

Alice Grange, off Ropes Drive in Kesgrave, was rated ‘inadequate’ for safety, effectiveness, leadership and responsiveness and ‘requires improvement’ for care following an inspection on February 25 and 28.

In a new report, Care Quality Commission (CQC) experts raised serious concerns about people’s nutrition, staffing levels, and employees’ ability to raise concerns about care.

Bosses at the home say they take the CQC’s findings very seriously, and a robust action plan has been rolled out in response.

The CQC’s visit to the home was prompted in part by the death of a resident, which is being investigated by the police.

Inspectors had also been informed about a letter sent to all employees about raising concerns.

“While it (the letter) did not explicitly tell staff not to raise any whistleblowing concerns, it could easily have been interpreted that this was the message,” experts wrote in the report.

There were 69 people living at the home, run by Barchester Healthcare Homes Limited, at the time of the inspection.

“Across the home we saw staff were under pressure to meet people’s needs and although it was evident, they were trying very hard, we saw instances of shortfalls,” inspectors said.

“People were left at risk of poor nutrition and hydration support due to staff not having sufficient time to provide care for people in the way they needed.

“Prior to the inspection, we also received concerning information that people were not receiving safe care and treatment. We were also concerned about several people’s nutritional care and weight loss.

“Records did not evidence that people were being supported to gain and maintain weight where this was necessary.”

One person told inspectors: “They definitely need more staff. The staff are very good, but they’re overworked.

“More than anything else, they need more staff.”

However, the CQC experts found all areas of the home were clean, tidy and odour-free, with all staff trained in infection control. It was rated ‘requires improvement’ for its care.

During the Covid-19 outbreak, the CQC has paused all routine inspections but aims to revisit homes in special measures as part of its re-inspection programme.

What happens next?

A spokeswoman for the home said a new manager and deputy manager have been appointed, adding: “We have developed a robust action plan to address the issues raised in the report, and this includes hiring more qualified staff to join the kind, caring and well-trained team at the home.

“Staff have been receiving training to improve their confidence and regular meetings are held, ensuring they have a chance to speak up.

“From a nutrition perspective, we have made updates to the dining experience at the home to ensure all needs are catered for.

“All of these changes are showing positive results and we have good feedback on our approach.

“The care of residents at our home is always at the forefront of everything we do, and we will endeavour to get these issues rectified as soon as we can.”

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