Care Home Criticised Over Medicine Management

A Yorkshire Care Home Has Been Criticised Over Its Medicine Management


A care home in Yorkshire has been criticised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) for its poor medicine management regime.

Inspectors visiting Housing 21 at Willow Court, in Elland near Halifax, noticed there were appropriate training programmes in place to make sure residents were given their medication at the right time.

But when records were checked to ensure that twice-yearly refresher sessions to remind nurses and other members of staff how to ensure drugs were properly given - especially topical creams and more complex treatment courses - it was found that five carers had not been trained within the previous six months.

While at first this may only seem like a minor infraction on regulation, CQC inspectors deemed the situation serious enough to recommend that action must be taken by interim managers to ensure the problems are solved as soon as possible.

Issues were also seen in the way medicine was administered by relatives of families. As is their right, many sons, daughters, wives or significant others chose to apply various treatments themselves.

While this is perfectly acceptable, it was often not recorded when family members had applied these drugs and this risked overdoses or a lack of medication being given, as many of the residents have dementia and cannot reliably remember if they have taken their daily dosage.

Staffing levels were also found to be lacking and the CQC concluded that Housing 21 did not have enough qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet patient needs.

There was special concern given to the fact that nurses were required to clean regularly, despite a lack of training in this regard. However, despite this, infection control and general hygiene was judged to have met nationally recognised standards.

Commenting on the lack of staff, a CQC statement read: "Three of the healthcare assistants we spoke with told us they were concerned that staff cover at night was inadequate, especially in the event of an emergency.

"They were especially concerned about lone working. One member of staff told us 'people often have to wait a long time for the toilet in the night when they buzz for us'."

Expert Opinion
Following the CQC’s findings it is important that an action plan is put into place to ensure that all staff have the appropriate training so that residents at the care home receive the best possible care, as patient safety has to be the number one priority for any care facility.

“Elderly people deserve to have access to a high standard of treatment that considers their respect and dignity at all times.

“We see numerous cases in which vulnerable elderly people have suffered as a result of healthcare providers failing to meet recognised standards. Sadly, we've observed first-hand the trauma this has, not only on victims, but on families who expect their loved ones will receive quality care.”
Lisa Jordan, Partner