The Lancashire care home has left residents at risk of unsafe drugs, expired food and sharp objects

Residents of a Lancashire care home have been put at risk by unsafe medical practices and due to the presence of sharp tools, toxic chemicals and stale food.

Aarondale Care Home has been branded ‘inadequate’ in a scathing report written after three Care and Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors visited. The house, in Coppull, Chorley, received the worst possible rating in the safe, efficient and well-run categories, while ‘needs improvement’ awards were handed out based on its attentiveness and responsiveness.

The report, based on a visit in March, was released this week and raised concerns about a wide range of issues at home. In terms of medication, he said “staff were not always trained and competent to administer medication safely”.

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Problems included a lack of records which meant people risked being given drugs when they did not need them; unsafe management of “thickener” used to prevent people from choking; and a risk of skin irritation and overdose for a person receiving topical medication.

Other general safety concerns related to the lack of learning from previous occasions and the lack of recording of accidents and incidents. Inspectors also felt that not enough was being done to protect people from infection.

Aarondale Care Center

The report stated: “The premises were unsafe. We found a box of vinyl glue labeled as highly flammable left in a communal restroom. The door to the maintenance room was left open for an extended period of time, putting people at risk of injury from sharp tools and toxic chemicals.

“We observed an emergency exit and fire escape chair in a stairwell that was clogged with items such as vacuum cleaners, walking aids and boxes. This put people in danger of exiting the building in an emergency. We reported our concerns to the fire department.

“People were exposed to general environmental risks. The radiator in one person’s room was excessively hot to the touch, which meant there was a risk of burns. Another person assessed as being at risk of falling needed a detector mat to help minimize this risk. However, when we visited this person in his room, the detector mat was out of reach and unplugged.

The inspection revealed that not all staff had received protection training, but it was noted that staff who spoke to inspectors understood how to protect people from abuse and that residents felt supported. The home was also praised for its staffing and secure recruitment.

However, there was a failure to ‘ensure that staff were properly trained and had the skills, knowledge and competencies required for their role’, while some staff administered medication without undergoing an assessment skills. A member of staff told inspectors: “I had no fire safety training, no mock drills and no shadowing. I have seen older people recruited for this position with no experience.

The report adds: “People were at risk of eating potentially contaminated food. Our inspection of the kitchen revealed that some foods, including soft cheeses, were expired. Foods that had been opened were not dated, meaning they were potentially dangerous to eat. We raised our concerns with the local authority’s food hygiene department.

“We observed people eating lunch and found people being served different food than what is listed on the menu and badly burnt food. We had to step in and ask the chef to serve people with an alternative. One person told us: “The food is bad, I tend to settle for a sandwich. We are never told what we have.

“The chef lacked the training and skills to meet people’s nutritional needs. People with specialized dietary needs, such as a liquid diet, were served foods that had simply been mixed. It was not possible to identify what this food was, and it looked unappetizing.

“Drinks were not readily available to people. We looked in people’s rooms and found that people didn’t have a carafe of water or juice to help maintain their hydration levels throughout the day.

Several breaches of the Health and Social Services Act were noted during the visit and the CQC ordered the home to send a report outlining what action it will take in response. Aarondale Care Home declined to comment on the report when contacted by LancsLive.