Improvements still needed at care home

jpco-11-12-13 Francis Court, Copthorne (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-11-12-13 Francis Court, Copthorne (Pic by Jon Rigby)

Inspectors have seen improvements at a previously poor performing care home, but say it is still operating below an acceptable standard.

Francis Court in Copthorne was inspected in October 2013 when the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found “serious failings” which needed immediate action. The number of residents was reduced from 87 to 49 and new admissions were stopped.

Inspectors revisited the Care UK home in December and found it had made progress by increasing staffing levels and having nurses working with residents with more complex needs. The agency staff used by Francis Court now work on a regular basis and each patient has a care plan in place.

However, there were still improvements to be made in the management of medication and some food and fluid intake charts had not been fully completed.

Adrian Hughes, regional director for the CQC in the South, said: “It was clear when we visited Francis Court in October that we needed to take immediate action, which included a restriction on new admissions until further notice.

“We also passed our findings and concerns to the local authority and local commissioners for them to take any necessary action.

“When we returned to Francis Court in December, we found that the provider was addressing the concerns we had raised.

“There were sufficient staff on duty to meet the needs of people living in the home and the management of medicines was improved. The onus now is on Care UK to ensure that this improvement continues and is sustained.

“All of this said, we still have concerns that people at Francis Court are not receiving the best possible care – and the home is still falling short of the required standard.

“We will continue to monitor progress at Francis Court very closely indeed, and will return unannounced in the near future to check that improvements continue to be made.

“If we identify any further problems, we will not hesitate to take swift action again to protect the people who live there.”

A Care UK spokesman said: “Feedback from the CQC’s latest report is encouraging and acknowledges that progress has been made at Francis Court.

“We acted quickly to appoint a new management and clinical team responsible for the delivery of a detailed improvement plan. This has resulted in a review of residents’ care plans, new medicines management processes and additional training for existing team members.

“In addition, an ongoing recruitment campaign has doubled the number of registered nurses at Francis Court and we expect our reliance on agency workers to significantly reduce as soon as our new recruits have finished their comprehensive induction programme.

“We accept that there are still some aspects of care and administration that have not yet reached the high standards we demand, but we are working closely with the CQC, the local authority, residents and their families to ensure standards continue to improve.”

Francis Court uses the same building as the former Orchid View care home where five residents deaths were attributed to by neglect while it was run by Southern Cross. It closed in 2011.