North London care home slammed as ‘unsafe’ by inspectors after ‘staff found sleeping on the job’

A North London care home has been given the worst possible rating by inspectors after it was found that residents did not receive their medicines safely – risking overdose or missing doses completely. Nazareth House Care Home in East Finchley received the ‘Inadequate’ rating and inspectors noted some residents had ‘unexplained bruising’ on their body where no report about an incident, such as a fall, had been completed.

Inspectors also found an agency staff member asleep in the communal lounge while sitting with ten residents, who they were supposed to be looking after. On another occasion inspectors observed a resident trying to get up from their chair but there were staff around to support them and they had to intervene to ensure the person’s safety.

Nazareth Care Home provides care to people aged 65 and over, some of whom were living with dementia. The service cared for 77 people at the time of the unannounced inspection, in May 2022. The report, published by national regulator the Care Quality Commission, identified ‘serious’ concerns about the way residents were given medication. In one incident, staff had recorded that medicines had been ‘left in cup’ with no clear confirmation that medicines had been given.

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People were not always receiving their medicines safely and as prescribed., inspectors said

The inspector wrote: “People did not receive their medicines safely or as prescribed. One person who had been prescribed pain relief patches to be administered every 72 hours, had been administered the patch daily. This meant that the person may have been placed at risk of receiving an overdose of this medicine

“We identified examples of people not receiving their medicines as they were as being out of stock. This included pain relief, anti-depressants and blood thinning medicines. One relative told us: ‘My sister tells me that sometimes she doesn’t have her medication because the staff allow them to run out.’

“Accidents and incidents were not always documented, appropriately acted upon, investigated and follow up actions recorded where required. This meant that people were at the possible risk of avoidable harm. We identified three examples of where people had sustained unexplained bruising, with no incident report.

“On another occasion we saw an agency care staff member dozing in the communal lounge whilst sitting with approximately 10 people, who they were meant to be monitoring and interacting with.”

Despite this, when inspectors asked relatives and residents if they felt the care home was safe, they received some positive feedback. One resident said: “[It’s a] safe place, the care staff come whenever I press the buzzer at night.”

Staff at the care home also said that morale was down largely down to staff shortages, the impact of Covid-19 and lack of support from from management. Staff also noted that they did not feel adequately trained on the system which records residents’ medication, which might address the problems highlighted.

Due to the overall rating for this service being ‘Inadequate’, the CQC placed the home in ‘special measures’. This means it will be re-inspected within six months to check for significant improvements. If the home has not made enough improvement within this timeframe, it may be closed completely.

MyLondon contacted Nazareth House for comment and this story will be updated if and when we receive a reply.

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