Shropshire Star

Care home residents 'knowingly' left without heating for 72 hours and at risk of hypothermia

A firm could be barred from running one of its care homes after a watchdog found a catalogue of shocking failings including residents being left without heating for three days.

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Keegan's Court Residential Care Home. Photo: Google

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was stepping in to use enforcement powers on Kevindale Residential Care Home over the state of Keegan's Court Residential Care Home in Bishop's Castle, which it manages.

The CQC said it had carried out an unannounced inspection in February, and found Keegan's Court, at the Grange, Kerry Lane, to be 'inadequate'.

Inspectors said that residents at the home had been 'knowingly' left without heating for 72 hours and were 'at risk of hypothermia'.

They also said that leadership at the home had failed to act on concerns about the inappropriate behaviour from some staff, or ensure an effective fire management plan was in place.

A report on the findings said confidential information – including sensitive financial information and details about people's health and welfare – was not secured and was accessible to those without authority.

People's privacy also couldn’t be assured as communal toilet doors did not close or could not be locked, while people did not always receive their medicines safely or as prescribed.

Inspectors said there was visible dirt in areas of the home and on fixtures, while there were not enough suitably qualified staff available to support people at all times.

The CQC said it has now started a process to prevent the provider, Kevindale Residential Care Home, from operating Keegan's Court 'to keep people safe'.

Kevindale is able to appeal the action – with a spokesman telling the Shropshire Star the firm is making the "necessary changes" and is preparing for the appeal process.

Andy Brand, CQC deputy director of operations for Midlands, said: “When we visited Keegan’s Court Residential Care Home, we were concerned to find that issues highlighted at the last inspection, had still not been addressed and more worryingly, we found further deterioration in the care being provided to people. It’s for this reason that we’re using our enforcement powers to prevent them from operating in order to keep people safe.

“Our inspectors found the home wasn’t well-led and there had been a number of changes to the leadership team. They failed to identify who was responsible for running the service and what roles staff were expected to carry out, to ensure people were receiving a high standard of care.

“They weren’t heating the home at the start of the inspection, meaning people were uncomfortable, and at risk of hypothermia. One person took an inspector’s hand, and they were cold to the touch, with another telling us they had to keep their coat on all the time because they were so cold. The provider knowingly allowed the heating to fail for around 72 hours, until we insisted heating was restored as part of our inspection. This is unacceptable.

“It was also incredibly concerning that people weren’t protected from the risk of abuse or ill-treatment. Leaders at the home were passed concerns about the behaviour of staff members but failed to act on it putting people at risk of receiving inappropriate or potentially abusive behaviour.

“Due to the number of serious issues found at Keegan’s Court, the service will remain in special measures to help us, and other partner organisations keep people safe until our enforcement action is complete.”

The CQC said the latest inspection came after it received concerns about the management of the home.

It was also following up on the progress of improvements the home was told to make following its last inspection in July last year.

The latest inspection findings mean that as well as being rated inadequate overall, the ratings for how safe and well-led Keegan’s Court are, have again been found to be inadequate.

How caring the service is has dropped from 'requires improvement' to 'inadequate'.

A spokesman for the home said they are continuing to make the necessary changes and would be preparing for the appeals process guided by their solicitors.