Large care home lifted out of special measures – bosses ‘pleased’ with improvements

PUBLISHED: 09:25 30 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:25 30 August 2020

The Willows care home in Ipswich. 


The Willows care home in Ipswich. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Rachel Edge

A care home slammed for putting residents’ safety at risk earlier this year is no longer considered ‘inadequate’ after a re-inspection during Covid-19 found improvements.

The Willows, which cares for up to 70 older people in Crabbe Street, Ipswich, is now rated ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission after inspectors visited in July.

It had been plunged into special measures in March after reports of verbal and physical aggression between residents and a high number of falls, with one person likening the premises to a “prison”.

However, CQC experts who visited the home at the end of July now feel sufficient improvements have been made to bring it out of special measures.

Bosses at the facility, run by Sohal Healthcare, they are “pleased” with progress made and are confident that they will have an even better rating at their next inspection.

The home is no longer in breach of any safety regulations and inspectors felt it was clean and medicines were managed more effectively during the July visit.

People were better supported from risks of falls, choking, pressure ulcers and nutrition issues, CQC experts added.

Staffing levels had increased and a tool had been put in place to count the number of employees in at any one time.

However, inspectors felt improvements were still needed in all areas, and ranked the home ‘requires improvement’ for safety, leadership, effectiveness, responsiveness and care.

Although there was enough personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks and gloves for staff, some employees were constantly touching their masks and pulling them down, according to the CQC.

“Some were wearing them not covering their noses or wearing them under their chin,” inspectors wrote.

“We told the management team what we had seen, and they assured us this would be addressed with staff.”

The CQC also said some aspects of the service provided by the home were “not always safe”, and there was an increased risk that people could be harmed.

For instance, inspectors found staff were not always around to prevent people from burning themselves on heat lamps used to keep breakfast items warm. The lamps have since been removed, they added.

Rory Stokes, Sohal Healthcare’s operations manager, said: “We are pleased with the progress being made at The Willows. It is a testament to the new management and staff teams at the home.

“We are working closely with the CQC and local authority to make the necessary improvements in the service and will continue to do so.

“We feel this is demonstrated by the fact that we are no longer in breach of any regulations.

“We are confident that on our next inspection, these improvements will have been sustained and our rating can return to where we want it to be.”

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