A CARE home staff member was forced to lock themselves in an office after being assaulted by a resident.

Now, the care home, Bobbins, which looks after six youngsters, has been placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission after inspectors found a catalogue of errors.

The CQC said residents at the Cricklade Road home were not safeguarded from abuse. Staff did not know they were able to use necessary, reasonable restraint on those who posed a harm to others. One staff member told inspectors: “Although it is better than it was, I still do not feel very safe at work.”

John Edwards Care Homes, which owns Bobbins, said vast improvements had been carried out since the visit in February.

Inspectors’ concerns were said to have been referred to Swindon Borough Council, which placed young people at the home. The borough sad it was working with Bobbins’ management to make improvements to the service.

The CQC rated the home as Inadequate, down from a rating of Good when Bobbins was last inspected in 2017. It has been placed in special measure, meaning it will be kept under review and re-inspected within six months to check whether significant improvements have been made.

Opened in 2015, Bobbins is aimed at older teenagers. On its website, John Edwards Care Homes says it offers transition programmes for children aged 16 to 18, for example helping them move into supported housing.

When the home was inspected in 2017, the CQC praised the care offered by staff at Bobbins. However, they said the leadership at the home required improvement, as the service had failed to submit details of more serious incidents or safeguarding alerts, as required under government regulations.

Staff felt unsafe

Two years later, inspectors came across a different picture. The visit was prompted by a tip-off with concerns that residents were “receiving medicines covertly” and staff were not trained in how to intervene when those staying at the home were physically violent or posed a risk to others.

Inspectors wrote: “Staff told us they did not always feel safe as they were not allowed to use physical restraint as a last resort.” Confusingly, the care home’s own policy allowed reasonable force to be used to control and restrain those posing a risk to staff and visitors – yet members of staff were told differently.

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A behaviour plan for one resident, who had a history of physically abusing staff and targeting women in particular, gave no information about what to do if they assaulted someone. The resident’s hospital passport, designed to give NHS staff information about a patient’s history, gave no details of the resident’s past, which the CQC said “might put hospital staff, patients and visitors at risk”.

Records were not always available, accurate or complete. A risk assessment relating to one resident “did not fully identify risk of sexual assault on a member of the public”.

Inspectors found there was no evidence that signs of unexplained bruising on some patients had been investigated. “There was no accident/incident report after on person physically assaulted an agency member of staff.”

The care home was, in places, in poor repair. Radiator covers on the ground floor were broken.

And the CQC found that consent forms for three residents at the six-bed home were signed by relatives who did not have a lasting power of attorney.

However, inspectors acknowledged that staff treated residents with kindness and respect. The home was nicely decorated and people’s rooms were decorated to their taste.

Care home responds

Responding to the CQC report, a spokeswoman for John Edwards Care Homes said: “Following its recent acquisition, the new owners identified a number of severe shortfalls in the service. Subsequently a comprehensive turnaround plan, which involved Swindon Borough Council, the CQC, and the families of service users, was put in place and a new manager was appointed. Since the compilation of this report over two-months-ago, vast improvements have been made to the service.”

'We accept the findings' - Swindon Borough Council

Residents in Bobbins care home were placed there by Swindon Borough Council, the Advertiser understands.

The CQC said Bobbins had been working in partnership with the council, resulting some improvements like the servicing of ceiling hoists and reviewing policies.

Inspectors added: “An action plan created by the service in response to the concerns was not accurate. The action plan stated actions had been completed when they had not.”

They said: “Following the inspection we referred our concerns to the local authority responsible for safeguarding. In addition, we requested an action plan and evidence of improvements made in the service.”

Last night, Swindon Borough Council spokesman Thomas Haworth said: “We accept the findings of the CQC and we are actively working with Bobbins to make improvements to the service. The staff are more than happy to work with us and receive the support that we have to offer, and we are confident that the service can improve.”