A care provider in south Manchester has been given an inadequate health rating after care officials discovered multiple breaches to the Health and Social Care Act.
We Care Solutions, based in Chorlton, provides palliative care for patients living at home with dementia and supports 152 patients with personal care.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited the care provider in June and found five regulation breaches relating to poor person-centred care, poor record keeping, not managing known risks and not operating systems effectively.
Inspectors were concerned that people were ‘in risk of not receiving safe care and treatment’ after home visits by staff were often reported as being late or sometimes even missed.
Late calls, which were more frequent over the weekend, meant that people were ‘unaware when carers would arrive’ and this would often have implications on patients.
One family member of a patient told inspectors their relative was once left in wet clothes while waiting for a morning home visit, which they said wasn’t ‘fair or dignified’.
Another patient was unable to take their insulin at their usual time due to a late visit and their catheter bag had also overflowed by the time a carer had attended.
Inspectors also found one person had missed five successive evening visits, which ‘were not escalated’ to other health agencies and resulted in the person being admitted to hospital.
Late calls were often due to staff ‘not being allocated’ travel time between care visits. Some staff were found to be working 16-hour shifts without allocated breaks.
A ‘failure to deploy staff safely’ was acknowledged as a regulation breach of the Health and Social Care Act.
Inspectors also found staff weren’t managing or recording medicines safely, which was also identified as a regulation breach as it put people ‘at risk of harm’.
The care provider had been given an ‘inadequate’ rating at a previous inspection in 2019, but inspectors found there had still been a ‘failure to raise standards’ since.
There was also a ‘repeated failure’ to assess and identify risks associated with care.
Inspectors found no assessments in place to manage risks associated with catheter care or people’s diets, which increased the risk of choking.
Infection risk had also ‘not been considered’ as part of planning and inspectors found one patient had blood in their catheter and had to be admitted to hospital to receive treatment for sepsis.
Since the inspection took place, the care provider has said it has introduced a new catheter care policy.
Inspectors reported there were ‘widespread and significant shortfalls in service leadership’ that ‘did not assure the delivery of high-quality care’.
The latest report was the fourth consecutive inspection where the service was found to be in breach of regulations.
As the service is in ‘special measures’, CQC will work with the local authority to monitor progress and will return to visit within six months.
In a letter sent to patients, We Care Solutions addressed the CQC inspection rating and said ‘immediate action and necessary measures’ were being taken to develop and progress the care provided.
“We have invested heavily in hiring consultants to offer their advice and professional expertise to help structure a personalised action plan for We Care Solutions,” the letter states.
“We are working closely with the Manchester City Council, Care Quality Commission, and yourselves to improve the overall quality of our work.
“Finally, we have hired and trained new staff members who will help complete tasks in a correct and efficient manner.”
The care provider said it has also invested over £25,000 in ‘immediate action’, increased spot checks on quality care, extended out of hour contact services and changes within management.
“We have been gauging with service users to ensure we are meeting their personal needs,” the letter added.
“Upon receiving any complaint or a poor-quality assurance questionnaire we ensure we are immediately booking spot checks. This gives staff the opportunity to be reviewed and to ensure improvements are made with the care provided for service users.”