RESIDENTS at a care home near Hereford were left at risk of dehydration and malnutrition due to staff shortages, an inspection found.
The report by the Care Quality Commission into Stretton Nursing Home in Burghill was prompted by an on-going police investigation into allegations of abuse at the home.
Inspectors were sent to assess whether people living at the home were at immediate risk of harm and abuse.
The newly-published report placed the home in special measures as its overall rating was inadequate, meaning the service is performing badly.
The inspector said: “There were not enough staff to care for people safely. The lack of staff had an adverse effect on people’s personal care needs, hydration and emotional wellbeing.”
On the day of the inspection there were 41 residents, including some who had dementia. Since the inspection the home has said it will not take any further residents.
The report said it was hard to tell if medicines had been administered correctly and risk assessments were not in place for specific health conditions and infection control.
It added: “People did not always have enough to drink, even when they expressed symptoms of dehydration.
“Staff did not always have time to spend with people to encourage them to eat, which placed people at risk of malnutrition.”
Drinks were left out of reach for people, and meals were left to go cold as there were no available staff to encourage and support people to eat, the inspector said.
The staff the inspectors spoke to said they were consistently concerned about unsafe working practices and the pressures they were under.
Some people had to wait until the afternoon before they could get up.
The report added: “Due to the time constraints staff were under, people were sometimes placed in undignified situations and did not have their personal and continence care needs met in a timely way.”
While at the home an inspector tried to find a member of staff to help a resident who needed to go to the bathroom but there was no-one available to help.
Residents’ call bells did not always work and were not in reach.
At a previous inspection last October there were breaches of regulation, and in the unannounced visit in January the breaches remained.
The report added: “Systems and processes in place to protect people from abuse were not always followed. Action had not been taken by the provider to address failures to report alleged abuse or harm.”
The home will be inspected again within six months – if not enough improvement has been made urgent enforcement action could be taken.
The home has sought advice from another local provider which is now mentoring the home.
The provider also implemented urgent recommendations. By the end of the inspection staffing levels had increased and eased the pressure.
Stretton Nursing Home declined to comment on the report at this time.
The allegations made to the police related to a time period of the past two years.
A police spokesman said: “Police have been investigating an allegation of neglect by a member of staff at a nursing home near Hereford. The case is now being considered by the CPS for a decision whether to charge or not.”