A WIRRAL care home has improved its rating after several damning reports, but serious safety concerns remain.
Park House in Prenton was commended for changing its failing culture, yet inspectors said residents continued to face risks including choking.
If the situation does not improve within six months, the operator Four Seasons Health Care could lose its right to run the care home.
A major issue at Park House was that several managers employed at Park House had “failed to commit” to the job, though this was beginning to change with new personnel.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) gave Park House a rating of ‘requires improvement’, the second worst possible rating, but an improvement on the ‘inadequate’ rating it got in its two most recent inspections.
Park House cares for 54 people living with dementia and other age-related conditions.
One serious problem at the care home was the failure to keep sufficient records.
The report said records for adding thickening powder to drinks for people who had difficulty swallowing were sometimes not completed.
This left them at risk of choking.
Similar problems also put residents at risk with regards to their medicine, as staff would sometimes be unaware of when people needed important medicine and when they had taken it.
There were also issues with staffing levels.
Though Park House had reduced its reliance on agency staff by 50%, residents and relatives told inspectors more staff were needed.
One relative told inspectors more staff were needed to help residents to eat.
The care home’s management of residents with diabetes was another concern for inspectors.
Risk assessments were not always specific to each person, meaning staff could not be clear when deciding whether someone was going through a diabetic episode.
But the one area which remained ‘inadequate’ was leadership. Park House had the worst possible rating in the ‘well-led’ category.
In previous inspections, inspectors said they found “widespread and significant shortfalls in service leadership” which saw people receive poor standards of care.
At this inspection, the report said not enough improvement had been made to change this.
There were two key problems.
The report said: “The provider had employed a number of managers who had failed to commit to working at the home.
“There had also been significant changes in the senior leadership team.
"This had led to inconsistent management and people had continued to receive poor care.”
As well as this, the report said: “The provider had consistently failed to ensure there had been a registered manager for a significant period of time which was a condition of the providers registration.”
But inspectors said the care home now has new management and things are beginning to change.
The report read: “Feedback about the new manager from professionals, staff, relatives and people living in the home was very positive.
“We were told how there had been a change in the culture of the home; and staff now felt valued and listened to.”
One relative of a resident at Park House, said to inspectors: “I think [the new manager is] very good, he interacts with everyone, he’s very enthusiastic which rubs off on everyone.”
Another relative said: “The home is now going in the right direction, it’s now getting structure.”
Staff morale was also said to be improving.
Members of staff told inspectors that “staff are now happy and enjoy coming into work” and “things are moving forwards now”.
A spokesperson for Four Seasons Health Care, said: “We regret that Park House has not yet met the high standards that the CQC requires and that we expect of all our homes.
“We take our responsibility as a care provider very seriously, and the home is being supported by a team of specialists to help continue to address concerns highlighted in the regulator’s report.
“A comprehensive action plan is in place based on a thorough review of this report and previous findings to ensure this home reaches a higher standard as soon as is possible.
“We are pleased that this latest report has recognised the progress we have made in other areas and that our overall rating has improved.
“Residents, families and colleagues agreed that continued improvement had been made to the service and management of the home, particularly with regard to the culture and atmosphere in the home.
“However, we know there is still work to do and remain committed to providing a high standard of care.
“We want to reassure our residents and their families that our priority is the care, wellbeing and safety of our residents and we will be keeping them informed on our actions.”