A home care service based in Cheltenham has been told to improve by the Care Quality Commission, after inspectors found that staff were ‘overworked’ and some clients had missed their medication.
Westminster Homecare’s Cheltenham branch was rated ‘Requires Improvement’ for four out of five key lines of enquiry – safe, responsive, effective and well-led – and ‘Good’ for being caring.
In its report, the CQC said staff were having to work “very long hours” to ensure visits were covered due to a “lack of experienced agency staff”.
There was no deputy manager at the time of inspection in November and the registered manager had been absent from the service for several months.
One staff member told inspectors that they had worked for two weeks without a day off and others were covering extra visits.
“This meant staff were tired and there was a higher risk of mistakes or care undertaken correctly,” the report said.
Commissioners from the local authority had also expressed concerns about people not receiving their assessed time for visits, had missed calls and people being supported by one carer rather than two.
“Systems to protect people from abuse and risk were not always effective. Care visits to people had at sometimes been missed. This had placed people at risk. Some visits were shorter than allocated times which meant some care tasks had not been completed,” the CQC said.
The regulator also found that medicines had not always been managed safely, with some clients not receiving their prescribed medicines.
And audits to check the safe management of medicines had not taken place, which meant any errors would not be identified in a timely manner.
However, clients told inspectors that they had “very good regular carers” and had built “strong relationships” with them.
Staff also told the CQC that they enjoyed their work and people were treated with respect and dignity.