Mildenhall care home still not ensuring patients’ safety

Mildenhall Lodge care home ANL-141206-100722001
Mildenhall Lodge care home ANL-141206-100722001
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Healthcare watchdogs have ruled an under-fire care home in Mildenhall is still not up to scratch after discovering it was failing to ensure the safety and welfare of its patients.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) visited Mildenhall Lodge on September 26 to find out if recommendations from its last report of a visit in July had been adhered to.

Inspectors had previously found the privately-run home to be failing in four out of five standards, most notably patient care.

The new report shows the home, opened by private provider Care UK five months ago, is still failing to meet required standards for the care of its patients with too few staff on the units, relatives helping patients with meals and a lack of leisure activities.

Although CQC inspectors noted clear improvements in the home’s management, they remained concerned about a ‘lack of management strategy’ and feared low staff levels places patients ‘at potential risk of unsafe care’.

Care UK bosses acknowledged there was still work to be done, but believed progress was being made.

A spokeswoman for the private provider confirmed Suffolk County Council will not yet be lifting its suspension of new admissions to the home.

Andrew Knight, Care UK’s managing director for residential care said: “As we have already acknowledged, this report demonstrates that we still have further work to do, but I do genuinely believe, as do CQC and Suffolk County Council, that we have made progress.”

In their latest visit inspectors found staff were sometimes unable to offer prompt support to patients and admitted they were ‘pushed to get people up in time for lunch’.

Patients’ family members came into the nursing unit to help them with their meals, with staff conceding they would ‘sturggle to meet’ their needs without this support.

Inspectors also found evidence that people did not always receive the required amount of fluids. However, it was noted on the dementia unit that eating and drinking records were fully completed and systems were in place to help those identified at risk of malnutrition.

There was still a lack of leisure activities for patients, but a support manager told inspectors the home was in the process of increasing these services.

Despite concerns about the number of staff, patients and relatives said they were happy with the care they received and found staff to be ‘kind and very caring’.

The CQC also judged the home to be meeting required standards in the management of patients’ medicines, the other standard in which it was tested.

Cllr Alan Murray, cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “We will continue to challenge and support Care UK to ensure they continue to improve.”