‘Sorry we messed up’: Salford homecare agency slammed as ‘inadequate’ by CQC

Failures to safely monitor medication and poor management by a Salford homecare agency have led to an inadequate rating from the CQC.

Comfort Call in Salford received an impromptu inspection on April 11-13 on two key areas they were warned they must improve on in December – whether they were safe and well-led.

But extensive failures to monitor medication, leading to many of its customers either going without it, have forced the CQC to place Comfort Call into special measures.

Comfort Call declined to comment, the report said: “The service had failed to protect people against the risks associated with the safe management of medication.”

At the time of the inspection, 511 living in the Salford area used the service, with 307 using the in-home care services.

The care provider had received a full inspection in December last year, since then the provider had contacted the CQC to inform them of actions they had taken to meet regulation.

However, the impromptu inspection found three Health and Social Care Act breaches, relating to management of medication, staffing and good governance.

Inspectors were told by one customer that they went without eating for 19 hours from 16.15pm till 11.50am the next day, because their medication must be eaten with food and the service failed to turn up to pass on the medication for the ‘teatime’ call.

In another missed call, a patient rang Comfort Call and said: “all they had to say in a very nonchalant and dismissive way was sorry ‘we messed up.’”

The report said: “We found that records could still not be relied on to demonstrate that people had been given their medicines.

Four people that the CQC inspected in their homes were prescribed Warfarin, which requires special monitoring because it places them at a risk of a stroke or bleeding.

Two of these people were not given the drug at the correct time, two had been given the wrong dosage.

“We saw examples of where staff had been allocated three and two calls at the same time, which meant calls were being scheduled in the knowledge they would be late,” the report said.

Prior to this investigation we received a number of significant concerns as a result of safeguarding referrals made to the local authority and complaints made by people who used the service and their relatives regarding the service they received.

This related to a high volume of missed and late calls, which impacted on the services ability to administer medication safely.

Inspectors found people prescribed medication that must be given at specific times, but there was no information which medicines should be administered at specific times. We saw people were not given these medicines at the correct times.

If the service does not improve its standards then the CQC will move to close the service after a series of further inspections in six month intervals.

Image courtesy of Chalmers Butterfield, with thanks

Related Articles