Yorkshire care home rated inadeqaute after inspectors walk in through broken front door

A York care home for people with learning disabilities and mental health needs has been told to make rapid improvements or face the risk of being shut down.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Harlington House, Fulford, twice in February to check how they were managing Covid infection control but widened the scope of their inspection after becoming aware of other concerns.

They found that the service, which can care for up to 17 people, was not safe or well-led and gave the home a rating of inadequate, meaning Harlington House is now under special measures.

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The home has not had a registered manager since September 2020, despite this being a requirement for CQC registration – but a recruitment process is now underway.

Harlington House in Fulford

Despite there being a Covid outbreak at the time of the inspections, visitors’ Covid test status, temperature and potential symptoms were not always checked on entry, and there were no records kept of visitors’ information.

There was a cleaning schedule in place, but this had not been completed in four weeks at the time of the inspection, according to the report, and the home had not been properly maintained or kept clean.

An inspector also walked into the home with ease as the front door mechanism was broken, “giving access to people’s bedrooms and not adequately ensuring people who were at risk of leaving the home alone were safe”.

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Managers ensured that problems identified at the inspection were risk assessed and discussed.

According to the report, the home “failed to ensure there were sufficient numbers of suitably trained staff”, with one staff member telling inspectors there were not enough staff on shift for all residents to get one-to-one care.

But staff did say that they felt supported and liked working at the service and the team had good knowledge of policies, including safeguarding. Relatives consistently told inspectors that communication from the home was “very poor”, the report said.

Inspectors also raised concerns about the culture at Harlington House.

They said: “We found that the manager’s response and terminology to a person’s behaviours was not one that promoted a positive culture for people. We heard staff referring to people as ‘kicking off’ and ‘a liar’ when discussing people’s anxieties and distressed reactions.”

Staff said the home’s manager was “approachable and fair”, but said they worked between two sites which meant they were not always available.

The manager also failed to notify the CQC of four “incidents” which had taken place at the service. The home will be kept under review and a re-inspection will take place within six months, if cancellation of its registration is not proposed before then.

If there is no improvement, the CQC could vary the conditions of its registration or force it to close by cancelling its registration.

Milewood Healthcare, which runs the home, has been contacted for comment.