Managers At A Cambridgeshire Care Home Have Been Criticised For Not Keeping Proper Records

PUBLISHED: 10:06 21 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:01 04 May 2010

Cambridgeshrie care home

Cambridgeshrie care home

MANAGERS at a Cambridgeshire care home have been criticised for not keeping a proper record of restraints used to control young people, some of them with severe learning and physical disabilities. An unannounced inspection by Ofsted- the Government s edu

MANAGERS at a Cambridgeshire care home have been criticised for not keeping a proper record of restraints used to control young people, some of them with severe learning and physical disabilities.

An unannounced inspection by Ofsted- the Government's education watchdog- said that promised improvements at the county-council-run home had not been made and the overall quality rating for the home was inadequate.

County councillor Martin Curtis, county council Cabinet member for children, said the council was "fully aware of the issues raised by the inspection".

"A comprehensive action plan has been developed and is being implemented under the supervision of senior social care staff to address the issues raised."

He added: "We are fully confident that the current children within the home are safely cared for."

The home is a purpose-built single storey eight bedded unit set in its own gardens. It offers short break respite care as well as providing a home for long-term residents "who cannot live at home for varying reasons".

Kristen Judd, who headed the Ofsted team, said there were many areas of concern, especially in relation to restraining some long-term residents.

"Records indicate that the restraints were necessary to protect the safety of young people or others," she says.

"However records are not consistently maintained, for example duration of the measure used is not consistently recorded. This is in breach of the Children's Homes Regulations."

Mrs Judd says that some staff at the home and not fully aware of young people's complex needs, there is insufficient information available to staff on how to manage some situations, and staff are not trained properly to care for residents.

She said that while staff was clear about their roles and responsibilities they acknowledged they have not had the necessary training to work with young people with complex needs.

"There are vacancies in the staff team and high sickness levels," says Mrs Judd. "Some staff say that they feel that the staffing levels sometimes make it difficult to supervise the young people and complete relevant documentation.

"There is ongoing recruitment to fill vacancies."

Mrs Judd said not all records were signed and dated, another breach of the Children's Homes regulations, and there was inadequate recording of the medication given to young people, sometimes not in accord with health professionals' advice, and overall recording of the information was not robust enough.

In one instance "a young person went without a prescribed medication. This may put a young person's health at risk".

Mrs Judd also criticised record keeping of complaints and concerns and there were problems on the rare occasions when young people went missing.

"Young people who are absent without authority are not consistently protected in accordance with the written guidance in place," she says. "Significant events relating to the protection of young people accommodated in the home are not consistently notified to all of the appropriate authorities. For example an incident is recorded when the police are called to the home, however, Ofsted has not been notified of this incident.

"It is a requirement of the Children's Homes Regulations that certain events are notified to Ofsted and a failure to do so means that the registered person is in breach of this regulation."

Mrs Judd issued the home with a 15 point action plan requiring improvements within a matter of weeks, including an instruction that within 24 hours of the use of any measure of control, restraint or discipline a written record is made.

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