Hornchurch care home closed after health inspectors find evidence of ‘financial abuse’ of dementia sufferers
PUBLISHED: 11:00 05 March 2020 | UPDATED: 11:33 06 March 2020
A Hornchurch care home that has been in special measures for more than a year is to close after health inspectors found systems in place there “did not always protect people from abuse and harm”.
Alton House in Sunrise Avenue, Hornchurch, currently cares for 15 older Havering residents diagnosed with dementia - although it has a maximum residency of 23.
It has been in special measures snce it was rated Inadequate by Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors on October 15 2018.
But during a follow-up inspection on January 7 2020, the CQC found that the required level of improvements had not been made.
As a result of that most recent inspection Alton House management has made the decision to move all residents out of the service.
They have been supported by Havering Council's commissioning team to ensure suitable alternative placements have been identified for people.
Alison Murray, the CQC's Head of Adult Social Care inspection in London said: "It is always sad when a provider decides to close a service, it is paramount that people get good quality care and that was not happening at Alton House.
"Everybody who was living at Alton House has now moved out and we wish them well in their new homes."
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The report filed by the CQC on March 2 makes for grim reading.
In one patient's case, parts of their care file had not been updated in around 15 months - since November 2018, a month after the previous inspection had rated the care home Inadequate - including risk assessments for their "sight, hearing and communication", "personal care" and "skin".
Inspectors raised further concerns about the systems and processes Alton House had in place to safeguard people from abuse, insisting: "We found the culture of the service disregarded the needs of people".
In particular, the report recounts one instance in which boxes of 100 tablets of paracetamol - which can only be prescribed to individuals - had been set aside for staff use.
There was no record of which patients had initially been prescribed those tablets, as labels had been removed.
The CQC report notes: "This indicates financial abuse as people had their property stolen, misused and they had been defrauded.
"There was a potential risk therefore, that people's needs may not have been able to be met in relation to their pain relief and their medicine administration records and prescription requests may be inaccurate in terms of how much paracetamol they required on an ongoing basis."
Inspectors also found some staff members did not have their competency assessed and had not received the right training to be handling medicines.
Alton House provided records that showed four staff members had not completed medicines training and eight staff members had not had their competency to administer medicines assessed.
The Recorder was unable to contact anyone at Alton House for comment.