A care provider where two workers were convicted of mistreating an elderly woman has been slammed by inspectors after receiving a poor rating for its services.
Midas Care, a Waterbeach-based agency that provides personal care to people living in their own houses and flats, was told to improve its services by the Care Quality Commission, who gave it a 'requires improvement' rating last month.
The inspection, which was undertaken between January 24 and 29, said the service had deteriorated from 'good' to 'required improvement' in terms of safety, effectiveness, care, responsiveness, and leadership.
A number of incidents saw mishaps from staff ranging from one person being given ear drops instead of eye drops, to three-hour late care calls.
What were some of the report's notable findings?
The report wrote that investigations into incidents and improvements to people's safety were not carried out when there were complaints. For example, when staff had allegedly been rough with people.
Where staff had been given disciplinary action due to gross misconduct, there had not been any investigations into their actions.
This meant that any staff who could potentially need to be referred to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) were allowed to leave without any investigation into whether they were safe to go on to care for other people or not.
The inspector gave the provider 24 hours to provide a record of a serious incident that had occurred. Midas Care were not able to confirm that an investigation had been completed or how the harm had occurred.
The CQC concluded that a lack of investigation put people at further risk of harm.
There were also examples of people's care not being as safe as it could have been. The report read: "A relative told us, "The [staff] can be clumsy. A few weeks ago they left the key safe code showing instead of mixing the numbers up and also left the door unlocked."
When it came to medication, the inspector found that people were not always administered their medicines as prescribed.
The report added: "One relative told us, "I think sometimes [family member] is not safe because [staff] can arrive late and [family member] is diabetic so therefore needs regular meals."
The lack of an even spacing between meals put the person at risk of not having their diabetes safely controlled.
Another relative told the inspector: "[Family member] was not safe earlier this year when [staff] got their eye drops and ear drops mixed up."
The relative added that the person's eye had been affected because of this but it was not damaged permanently.
The inspector found that out of eight medication records, there were concerns for three of them – where medicine supposed to be taken 30 minutes before food and drink were taken at the same time as food and drink.
People's medicines records were not accurate either, and did not contain information that staff needed. For example, one person's medicine had not been ordered in advance, which meant that the person did not get it for four days.
What did it conclude?
Midas, which has around 270 people using the service, was given a summary by the inspectors.
It read: "Not all incidents of harm, or potential harm, had been referred to the local safeguarding authority.
"People's care and support needs were not always met by staff in a way which supported people as well as they should have been.
"Staff were recruited in a safe way but their deployment did not always ensure that people were safe.
"Not all staff provided are that was as caring or dignified as it could have been."
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It added: "We found four breaches of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.
"This was for not safeguarding people, unsafe medicines' administration, ineffective or no responses to complaints and a lack of effective governance.
We also found one breach of the Care Quality Commission (Registration Regulations) 2009 for not notifying us about events that, by law, the provider must tell us about."
To read the full report, which was published in March, click here.
What does the provider have to say?
A spokeswoman for Midas Care said: "Since the CQC report was published in January, we have been working tirelessly with the local authority in order to reach the highest levels of care.
"We have restructured our operations, appointed new staff and invested a large of amount of money in meeting these standards and look forward to continuing to work with those we care for care for and their families, many of who have been with us for several years.
“At Midas Care, we pride ourselves on providing the highest levels of care to those who need assistance to remain at home independently, and we take very seriously any recommendations to improve our services.”
'Like a sack of potatoes'
A husband and wife working as carers for Midas Care were jailed after treating an 88-year-old woman with dementia like a "sack of potatoes" in November last year.
Viorel Constantin and Cristina-Alexandra Constantin were caught after the victims son set up a camera in his mothers room.
The footage showed the elderly woman being “flung” onto her bed and “moved inappropriately” by the carers without using a special hoist.
The recordings also show Mr Constantin press his finger against the victims nose and put his face “right up against” hers while speaking to her.