Care Quality Commission tells Durham care home it must make improvements to keep people safe

Published: 23 March 2021 Page last updated: 23 March 2021

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has told Picktree Court Care Home in Durham it must make improvements following an inspection that sees the home rated as Requires Improvement. It was rated Outstanding at a previous inspection in March 2018.

The inspection was carried out at the home in October and November, as well as other inspection activity outside of this off site. This inspection was prompted in part by information which indicated a person using the service died of injuries sustained in the home. This incident is subject to a criminal investigation. CQC also received information about falls sustained by other people living at the home, which indicated that falls weren’t being managed well at the home. There was a risk to people’s safety if CQC did not inspect.

Following this inspection, it also came to light that the provider was failing to notify CQC of serious injuries sustained by residents.

Ros Sanderson, CQCs head of adult social care inspection, north east said:

“At Picktree Court Care Home in Durham, we found a service that was not always able to keep people safe or provide responsive care.

“The provider failed to notify us when people sustained serious injuries at the home which makes it harder for inspectors to intervene to keep people safe. They can’t do this if they aren’t aware there are issues.

“Although inspectors saw staff who very clearly cared about their residents and worked well with relatives to facilitate video calls and updates during the pandemic, they were being let down by a lack of good processes being implemented by the provider.

“We have told the provider to submit an action plan outlining what immediate steps will be taken to improve the standards of quality and safety. We will be monitoring the service closely alongside Durham County Council, whilst they are making these improvements to ensure they are keeping people safe. We will return to check on the progress of these improvements and won’t hesitate to take action to keep people safe.”

Other findings at the inspection included:

  • The care being delivered by staff in Picktree Court Care Home was undermined by practices which weren’t safe.
  • Some unexplained injuries were not reported to the local authority safeguarding team or CQC.
  • The regular weighing of people had been stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic which meant staff were unable to detect when people's weight changed, putting them at risk. Fluid charts also required further work to monitor people's intake and reduce the risk of dehydration.
  • Policies and systems outlined good practice but they were not always followed.

However, inspectors also found:

  • Staff were caring and supportive towards people and protected their dignity.
  • Relatives appreciated the relationships they had with staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. They called staff caring and helpful and commented how resilient and remarkable they had been during the pandemic.
  • Staff had contacted external professionals for support when people's health needs changed. For example, GPs, dieticians and the district nursing team.

Full details of the inspection are given in the report.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.