Morpeth care home placed in special measures after major concerns raised by the Care Quality Commission

A care home in Morpeth has been heavily criticised by inspectors and placed in special measures.
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Northlands in Kings Avenue, run by Parkside Care Limited, has been given an “inadequate” rating by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in December.

It was prompted due to concerns CQC received in relation to keeping people safe, delivering the right care to support people and staffing.

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The description of the inspectors’ assessment included their view that “people weren’t always safe from the risk of avoidable harm” and “staff weren’t always supporting people to drink enough fluids”.

The Northlands care home in Morpeth. Picture by Google.The Northlands care home in Morpeth. Picture by Google.
The Northlands care home in Morpeth. Picture by Google.

The independent regulator of health and social care in England will keep the care home under close review – it will be monitored to check sufficient improvements have been made.

Following this inspection, the service’s overall rating has dropped from good to inadequate, as has the rating for being safe and effective. The well-led rating has dropped from requires improvement to inadequate.

As this was a focused inspection, caring and responsive were not included and remain rated good from their previous inspection.

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Linda Hirst, CQC deputy director of operations in the north, said: “When we inspected Northlands Care Home, we were disappointed to see a shortfall in strong leadership.

“We saw that ineffective management structures meant the provider couldn’t monitor the quality of care provided or know where improvements were needed to support people safely.

“During our visit, we found people weren’t always safe from the risk of avoidable harm. At the time of the inspection, the service was in organisational safeguarding with the local authority as there were multiple concerns about people’s care and safety at the home.

“We found there had been a number of falls at the home or unexplained bruising, which weren’t always identified or referred to the safeguarding team in a timely manner or being learned from to prevent future incidents.

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“We found staff weren’t always supporting people to drink enough fluids. Charts consistently showed people weren’t drinking enough and care plans didn’t always show where people, including those at risk of choking or using a feeding tube, needed additional support to keep them safe.

“Additionally, we saw the provider didn’t always make sure staff had the skills, knowledge and experience to deliver effective care and support. The local authority safeguarding team had also highlighted areas where staff needed more training and the provider was working with them to address issues.

“We have told Northlands Care Home where we expect to see rapid and widespread improvements and will continue to monitor them closely to keep people safe while this happens.

“We will return to check on their progress and won’t hesitate to take action if people are not receiving the care they have a right to expect.”

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The inspectors said that the provider had not written formally to individuals, offering explanations and apologies following accidents or untoward events.

However, the CQC has also said that ‘people told us there were enough staff to support their daily care needs’, ‘people were involved in care decisions and said staff treated them well’ and ‘the provider was looking to address the shortfalls and had recently appointed a new quality manager who was working on improvements’.

A spokesperson for Parkside Care said: “We regret that Northlands Care Home has fallen below the standards that we and the Care Quality Commission expect.

“As noted in the report, we were in the process of making improvements at the time of the inspection in December and have recruited an experienced new head of quality and compliance. They are working with colleagues on a comprehensive improvement plan to ensure that improvements required to our record keeping and procedures are made and sustained.

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“We have made good progress over the last three months since the inspection and hope to return to a good rating as soon as possible.”

“We have taken a number of steps to rectify the issues highlighted, including review of resident care planning, risk assessments, audits and quality assurance.

“I would like to thank those residents and relatives who spoke to the CQC during the inspection for their kind words and support. The well-being and safety of our residents remains our first priority.”

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