A care business which provides assisted living to vulnerable adults has been subject to special measures after inspectors discovered a litany of safety issues including broken furniture and residents locked in their rooms against their rights.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspected Heathcotes Yorkshire Supported Living for people with a physical or learning disability, autism or a mental health condition.
The company runs six housing blocks in the area and was inspected after concerns were raised about security issues in one of them.
Three inspectors visited the premises and identified safety lapses, including the failure of staff to protect residents from preventable damage and abuse.
Safeguarding concerns were not recorded or properly investigated, the CQC found, with some staff not receiving adequate training.
And inspectors found that some residents’ rights were being violated by placing restrictions on when they could leave their rooms.
The report said: “Restrictions have been imposed on some people without the legal authority to do so. We observed that people had to knock to leave their apartment and enter the common area.
“There were no environmental checks to ensure cleanliness standards were maintained at a high level.
“During the inspection, we found dirty toilets, dirty and damaged floors, holes in the walls, damaged furniture and we noted bad smells in some people’s houses.
“While some of these concerns were reported to the owner for action, the supplier had not assessed how to ensure infection control was to be promoted safely in these areas.
“Furniture was damaged in common areas and the laundry room was disorganized and chaotic. This increased the risk of infection.
Family members also expressed concern and dissatisfaction with the way their loved ones had been treated by staff. One said: “”[Family member’s] life has become considerably smaller since living there, they can no longer do the things they loved to do and have lost a lot of skills.
Another said: “The staff just don’t care about the service people, [family member’s] the apartment is dirty and the food is moldy and expired. I don’t think the staff have the training or support to be able to deal with people with complex needs, they don’t support them with the things they need., I don’t think the staff respect us or [family member] at all.”
A Heathcotes spokesperson said: “We take the comments from the CQC very seriously. We are committed to working closely with the CQC to bring our services to the high standard that the people we support and their families deserve. We have a comprehensive action plan in place which is being overseen by the new management team and we look forward to demonstrating improvement at the next inspection.
“The health and well-being of the people we support is our number one priority.”
Heathcotes must now provide an action plan to the CQC to show how it will improve, and will be re-inspected within six months – with establishments threatened with closure if no improvement is identified.