Doncaster care home for autistic people in special measures after being branded inadequate

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A Doncaster care home for people with autism and learning disabilities has been placed in special measures after being branded ‘inadeuqate’ in an unannounced inspection which said users were at risk of harm and abuse.

Bosses at Neville Lodge, a residential care home in Thorne Road, have been told by the Care Quality Commission that standards must improve urgently – or operators Riverside Healthcare Limited risk being stripped of the running of the home.

The report, which has just been published, said that systems in place were not ‘effective’ to protect users from harm and that systems and processes were not always effective in ensuring people were protected from the risk of abuse.

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Inspectors spoke to service users and staff before compiling the damning report, giving the home an ‘inadequate’ rating.

The report said people were at risk of abuse and harm at Doncaster's Neville Lodge care home.The report said people were at risk of abuse and harm at Doncaster's Neville Lodge care home.
The report said people were at risk of abuse and harm at Doncaster's Neville Lodge care home.

The report said: “People's support needs and risks associated with their care were not always appropriately managed to ensure safe care could be provided.

"The provider did not have effective systems in place to protect people from avoidable harm.

"Physical restraint was being carried out without robust processes and procedures being followed.

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"People were at an increased risk of being restrained inappropriately and therefore at risk of harm. People were not consistently supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff did not support them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests.

"Systems and processes were not always effective in ensuring people were protected from the risk of abuse and staffing was not always provided in line with people's needs.

"People were not always supported by staff who had been trained to do their jobs properly. This meant people were at risk of receiving unsafe care."

It added: “There were several areas falling short of the necessary standards during the inspection.

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"There had been a lack of leadership at the service. Systems were not in place to support effective oversight and governance. This meant that risks to people were not always identified and managed and records were not consistent and accurate.

"Whilst there were some systems in place to identify shortfalls these systems needed further strengthening and embedding into practice and provider oversight needed to improve.

"The provider gave a thorough and detailed action plan giving us assurances that action would be taken to address the concerns identified through the inspection.”

The report added that the home was well maintained, and environmental safety checks were taking place. There were plentiful facilities for people to use and lots of space both inside and outside for people to utilise.

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At its last inspection in August 2022, the home was ranked good – but inspectors were called in after areas of concern were flagged up.

A CQC spokesman said: “We received concerns in relation to people’s safety, culture, staffing and the management of the service.

“The overall rating for the service has changed from good to inadequate based on the findings of this inspection. We have found evidence that the provider needs to make improvements.

“We have identified breaches in relation to safeguarding, risk monitoring, training and governance at this inspection.

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“The overall rating for this service is ‘Inadequate’ and the service is therefore in ‘special measures’. This means we will keep the service under review and, if we do not propose to cancel the provider’s registration, we will re-inspect within six months to check for significant improvements.

“If the provider has not made enough improvement within this timeframe and there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall rating, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures. This will mean we will begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service. This will usually lead to cancellation of their registration or to varying the conditions the registration.

“We will request an action plan from the provider to understand what they will do to improve the standards of quality and safety. We will work alongside the provider and local authority to monitor progress. We will continue to monitor information we receive about the service, which will help inform when we next inspect.”