The Care Quality Commission have rated Mears Care Limited, as Inadequate, following an inspection in September and October.
CQC inspectors found Mears Care Limited in Torquay was Inadequate for being Safe, Effective, Responsive and Well-led and Requires Improvement for being Caring. Read the full report and ratings for all key services.
During August and September 2016, CQC received concerns from one of our partner organisations, Healthwatch Torbay. Healthwatch is the national consumer champion in health and care. They have powers to ensure people's voices are strengthened and heard by those who commission, deliver and regulate health and care services. Inspectors also received concerns from a number of other sources in relation to the quality of care being provided. In response to those concerns CQC undertook this unannounced inspection which commenced on 26 September 2016 and ended on 13 October 2016.
Mears Care Limited provides personal care to people living in their own homes. At the time of this inspection the service was providing care and support to 331 people.
The service did not employ enough staff to meet people's needs. This meant people had not always received their planned visits or visits were late. This resulted in risks to people's welfare and safety. For example people missed their medicines, missed their meals, and had to stay in bed. Some people who needed two care staff at each visit had only one staff member arrive. This meant care could not be carried out as required, or safely; or relatives/representatives were supporting the care staff to deliver care. This placed people and staff at risk of injury or harm.
Staff providing care and support did not always have the skills and knowledge they required to care for people safely. This meant the provider could not be assured staff had the skills and knowledge they needed to meet people's needs safely and appropriately.
Some people did not receive support in a caring way, particularly when care was delivered by staff they didn't know well. People told us they were unhappy with the lack of continuity of care staff. This had caused distress, especially for people living with dementia who needed to see familiar faces. People said they had been unable to speak with managers and did not receive a return call when they requested it. Some people told us they were fobbed off and found out that information given to them was untrue. Other people found staff to be caring and had built good relationships.
People's individual plans of care did not always contain enough information for staff to deliver care safely or in a person centred way. Where risks were identified, these were not fully assessed, or sufficient action was not taken to ensure people received care in a safe way. Some information about people, visits and care needs was sent directly to care staff's work phones. This information was very brief and meant staff often went into a visit where a person had complex needs without prior or sufficient knowledge of these needs or how to meet them. People received inconsistent levels of care and support that was not provided according to their individual preferences. People told us care staff did not always stay for the allocated time and their care was sometimes rushed.
Inspectors found complaints from people had not been taken seriously, explored thoroughly and responded to in good time. There were examples found by inspectors of people making complaints that had not been resolved by the provider.
Debbie Ivanova, Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said:
“We have rated Mears Care Limited as inadequate and it has now been placed into Special Measures. Our priority will always be to ensure the safety and welfare of people receiving services at all times and it is unacceptable to consider that people did not always receive their care as planned and were placed at risk of harm in their own homes.
“CQC’s priority will always be for the safety of people using health and social care services. I expect improvements to be implemented with immediate effect. If no improvements are found at our next inspection we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures to begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service. This will lead to cancelling their registration or to varying the terms of their registration if they do not improve.”
Dr Kevin Dixon, Chair of Healthwatch Torbay
“Healthwatch Torbay have used the public evidence to raise the need for action, raising the issues at a special meeting with the local authority, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, South Devon & Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group and the social care provider in question. “We have explored these concerns further and have passed our findings onto the Care Quality Commission, who are currently investigating.”
“Mears Care Ltd have since agreed to bring forward the pace of improvements for both clients and care workers. I think that this is a really positive outcome and recognition of team working between ourselves and the regulator for Health and Social Care in England and also the fact that the public voice counts.”
For further information please contact CQC Regional Engagement Manager John Scott on 07789 875809 or, for media enquiries, call the press office on 020 7448 9401 during office hours. Journalists wishing to speak to the press office outside of office hours can find out how to contact the team here. (Please note: the duty press officer is unable to advise members of the public on health or social care matters). For general enquiries, please call 03000 61 61 61.