‘Short-staffed’ Yorkshire care home taken out of special measures but ordered to improve

A care home where residents’ rights were “restricted” due to a lack of staff has been taken out of a special measures.

But inspectors have ordered that the owners of Whitwood House, in Castleford, must continue to make improvements.

A report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) states that the home, run by Lifeways Group, still has insufficient staffing levels.

Whitwood House currently has 12 residents and looks after people with learning disabilities, complex needs and brain injuries.

Whitwood House was described as ‘inadequate’ by the CQC following an inspection last year.

It was described as ‘inadequate’ by the CQC following an inspection last year.

Inspectors said staff told them the venue was regularly understaffed and agency workers were “used frequently”.

Following an inspection in April this year, the care home has been taken out of special measures and given a ‘requires improvement’ rating.

The report states: ” At our last inspection we found the provider had failed to ensure sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, competent, skilled and experienced staff were deployed effectively to meet people’s needs.

“This was a breach of regulation 18 (Staffing) of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

“Not enough improvement had been made at this inspection and the provider was still in breach of regulation 18. “

The report states that staffing levels did not meet residents needs.

It continues: “We looked at shift rotas for a four-week period covering March and April 2022.

“The majority of shifts did not have the required number of care staff.

“During this period, even with support from the management team, four day and four night shifts were not carried out with the required number of staff needed according to the provider’s dependency tool.

“The registered manager told us short staffing levels meant they had not had time to dedicate to care records, such as best interest decisions.

“We found people were not consistently supported to go out on the activities they wanted to participate in.

“On occasions, the registered manager worked on night shifts to ensure there was sufficient leadership and staff numbers.”

Inspectors have been told that a “recruitment drive” is underway and the use of agency workers has now reduced.

The report adds: “A new group of support workers were expected to commence their employment in July 2022 to help ease staffing pressures.”

Lifeways Group have been contacted for comment.

A statement by the company following last year’s report read: “We are absolutely committed to delivering a high standard of care at Whitwood House and we are working to a clear and timetabled plan to improve.”