Residents at risk of potentially fatal infections and staff employed without background checks - why two Norfolk care homes have been placed in special measures

Elderly residents were judged to be at risk in a Gorleston care home due to a problem with the home'

Elderly residents were judged to be at risk in a Gorleston care home due to a problem with the home's water system. Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Two care homes in Norfolk have been placed in special measures after being judged to be 'inadequate' by a health watchdog.

St Edmunds Residential in Gorleston and Lower Farm in King's Lynn must both improve their services to residents within the next six months or face having to close.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found the 37 residents of St Edmunds Residential Care Home were at risk of legionnaires disease, which can be fatal.

This was because the care home, run by Eastern Healthcare Ltd, had not ensured its water system was safe from legionella bacteria.

The inspectors also said the hot water temperatures in residents' en-suite bathrooms risked scalding people, and was a problem that had existed for several months.

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They therefore chose to issue a so-called 'notice of decision' which prevents the care home from admitting new residents.

According to their report the inspectors also said - while staff were caring - they did not consistently respect people's privacy, dignity, or independence.

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In addition there were incidents of residents being given alcohol without staff checking if this would put patients at risk due to the effect on their medication.

Inspectors will return to the care home within six months to check enough improvements have been made to remove special measures.

Commenting on the problem with the water system, a spokesman for the care home said: 'All the required remedial works have been carried out and we are now compliant.'

Meanwhile, at Lower Farm Care Home, the CQC found residents' care plans did not meet needs, staff were employed without full background and training checks made, and the system of monitoring the quality of care provided was not effective.

But Imalgo, which runs the home, said extra staff had been recruited, reducing the need for agency workers, and an extra 56 care hours a week were being provided to ensure residents' needs were met promptly.

The company added: 'The failings in the CQC report are mainly down to lack of procedures, which we will now implement.

'The directors had a meeting with CQC inspection managers to discuss the action plan, which will be reviewed by them on a fortnightly basis.'

Inspectors will return to both care homes within six months to check that enough improvements have been made.

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