A home care provider based in Slough has been placed into special measures by the CQC after failing to follow infection control measures during the pandemic.
The regulator inspected Forever Homecare to review the questions of ‘safe’ and ‘well-led’ after receiving information of concern in relation to the overall management and the safe management of medicines.
At the last inspection in August 2017, the service was rated ‘Good’ for these key lines of enquiry, but a follow-up review in January 2021 found them to be ‘Inadequate’.
During the inspection, the CQC found that Forever Homecare did not have a registered manager in place and it had failed to supervise the service manager who was responsible for key aspects of service, including safeguarding clients.
The regulator’s report states that the service’s infection control policy had not been updated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so advice on wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) was not in line with latest national best practice guidance.
Inspectors also found that the service did not test staff regularly for COVID-19, and that feedback regarding how test kits were obtained was “inconsistent”.
“The legitimacy of the tests was uncertain, as it was not clear whether they had been purchased privately or ordered from the government national testing programme,” the report said.
Forever Homecare had also failed to inform the CQC of incidents and accidents that had taken place and did not understand its responsibility to do so under duty of candour regulation, according to the regulator.
CQC head of Inspection for Adult Social Care, Rebecca Bauers, said: “Our inspectors found that Forever Homecare was not providing people with safe care and treatment. They were not safeguarded from abuse or risks, including infection control risks in relation to COVID-19. Safe medicine practices were not followed, and accidents and incidents were not effectively managed. There was also no evidence of learning following an incident, to prevent reoccurrence.”
Forever Homecare, which supports people across Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, has been issued with a warning notice and placed the service in special measures. The provider will be kept under review and re-inspected within six months to check for improvements.
Bauers added: “We have requested an action plan from the provider outlining what they will do to improve standards of quality and safety. We are currently considering what further action we may want to take if the provider has not made sufficient improvements when we return.”
Forever Homecare has been contacted for comment.