A care home once labelled as the "Rolls Royce of care homes" has been downgraded to ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) after it was found to be providing inconsistent and unsafe care.

Eachstep Blackburn Care Home on Infirmary Road underwent an inspection on September 22 2020, just over two years after the CQC last visited, and for the second time since 2018 was handed an ‘outstanding’ rating.

However, in the most recent inspection, carried out at the beginning of July, and prompted in part due to concerns in relation to a lack of staff, medicine errors, management of healthcare condition, record keeping and the management of the home, inspectors found the quality of the care had diminished in four out of the five key areas, with only the ‘caring’ category being rated as ‘good’.

MORE: Eachstep Blackburn branded the 'Rolls Royce of care homes' as it's rated 'outstanding' by CQC

The report, published on July 25 noted the Infirmary Road home, which cares for adults with dementia, learning disabilities, mental health conditions, and physical disabilities, had changed hands in October 2021 and was now under the umbrella of Park Homes (UK) Limited.

Breaches in relation to the management of risks, the management of medicines, the governance systems and record keeping were identified by the CQC.

Their main findings noted:

  • inconsistent and unsafe care
  • medicines were not being managed safely including in how they were administered and stored
  • one person was left with a meal in front of them for half an hour and were not given support until CQC intervention
  • gaps in people's food and fluid charts and fluid intake had not been totalled or evaluated
  • risk assessments had not been updated following one person experiencing falls
  • none of the people spoken with were aware of their care plan and could not recall discussing their needs
  • limited interactions between the staff and people living in the home

The report stated: “We found some gaps in the recruitment records of new staff.

“There were shortfalls in some people's care plans and records and risks to people's health safety and well-being had not always been assessed and managed, while medicines were not always managed safely either.

“Staff and relatives were concerned about a potential healthcare condition, and while staff were caring, there were limited interactions between the staff and people living in the home.

“People spoken with could not recall discussing their needs and being involved in the development of their care plan.

“The management team carried out a series of audits as part of the governance systems, but we found shortfalls during the inspection in respect of the management of risks and medicines and the completion of records.

“We also found that people were given limited opportunities to express their views.

“We saw no evidence of group residents' meetings and people had not been invited to complete a satisfaction survey.

“The manager and director of operations were committed to making the necessary improvements to the service and sent us information on their intended actions following the inspection.”

The health care watchdog will now monitor the care home’s progress, and will return to visit in due course.

A spokesperson for Park Homes (UK) Limited, said: “We are looking at the CQC feedback from our latest inspection and will be working hard in the coming months with all partners to work towards achieving an outstanding rating once again.

“The staff at the home are committed to continuous improvement and we are sure this will be reflected in future CQC findings.”