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Swaffham care home staff 'increased risk of spreading infection', inspection report states

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A Norfolk care home which was placed in special measures earlier this year has been found to have increased the risks of residents being at risk to the coronavirus.

The Paddocks Care Home in Swaffham has been upgraded from inadequate to 'requires improvement' in its latest Care Quality Commission inspection.

But findings highlight staff did not always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) properly and inspectors were not screened effectively for Covid-19 in line with current guidance.

The Paddocks Care Home on Cley Road in Swaffham 'requires improvement' according to the latest CQC inspection report
The Paddocks Care Home on Cley Road in Swaffham 'requires improvement' according to the latest CQC inspection report

The care home is operated by Castlemeadow Care who have stated they have immediately responded to the findings highlighted in the report by putting additional management in place.

The CQC report states: "One staff member entered a unit without wearing a mask. Other staff wore their mask incorrectly. This practice increased the risk of spreading infection."

Inspectors also criticised staff failing to decontaminate a sling when using it between two people.

The latest inspection took place in October and the recently published CQC report also states some wardrobes were not secured properly to the wall.

"One leaned dangerously and moved forward when light pressure was placed on the door handles,"the report states. "This placed people at risk of harm should the wardrobe fall."

The Paddocks is a residential care home located on Cley Road that was providing accommodation and personal care to 38 people at the time of inspection visit. The service is registered to support up to 100 people.

One of the units specialises in providing care to people living with dementia.

Regarding this unit, the report says: "There was a lack of understanding at management level that the passive infrared sensor being used on the dementia unit, was a potential restriction that required careful assessment to ensure it did not infringe unnecessarily on people's human rights."

It also says toiletries, prescribed creams and razors were found in resident's rooms on the dementia unit, either left out on furniture or in a cabinet that was unlocked. Risk assessments had determined these should be locked away for safety.

Some of the cabinets were found to be unclean with dusty shelves and cobwebs reported.

But the report also noted how residents told them they felt safe living in the home and relatives agreed with this. One relative told inspectors how staff had quickly identified their family member's illness and contacted the GP immediately to resolve it.

In terms of the level of the staffing, the report states: "On the day of our inspection visit, staff responded to people's request for assistance promptly. Staff were seen to spend time with people on the residential units but less so on the dementia unit.

"Mixed feedback was received from people and relatives regarding staffing levels in the home. One person told us, "There is always someone to see me and help me." Another person said, "There are not enough staff. I ring the bell. It can be a long time to wait."

Staff told inspectors they felt the home was well-managed and the bosses were deemed approachable and supportive.

Lifting equipment had been serviced in line with relevant regulations to ensure it was safe, but "a long-standing issue" in relation to fire safety was being rectified during the inspection visit. This had been delayed due to the coronavirus.

Garry Gardiner, director of operations for Castlemeadow Care said: "Castlemeadow Care is pleased that the Care Quality Commission has acknowledged the improvements made although we are still disappointed that our usual high standards of service to our residents and their families at The Paddocks has not been met as identified in our recent CQC inspection.

"We have immediately responded to the findings highlighted in the report by putting additional management in place and have continued to work closely with the CQC and local authority to do everything possible to return the Paddocks to a good rating."

The previous rating for this service was inadequate, published on April 17 when there were multiple breaches of regulations reported.

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