The owner of a Swindon care home has responded to safety and management concerns from its latest inspection.

Seahorses, a residential dementia care provider in Chiseldon, was told by the Care Quality Commission that its safety, leadership and overall service 'requires improvement'.

The owner has said that a recent bereavement affected the management, and it has since made necessary improvements since the inspection in February.

The report from June 4 states: “Some areas of the home had a strong smell of urine. The medicines room was also being used as a staff storage area and a staff toilet. 

“We observed a box of lancets that were slightly open, stored right next to the open door of a staff toilet. 

“This was an infection control risk due to a risk of cross-contamination when staff used the toilet.”

The CQC report scored the home’s safety at 62 per cent, finding breaches of regulation relating to health and safety, fire safety, infection control, managing risks and safeguarding people from abuse.

One staff member said: “There are normally 2 carers on the floor, a cook who helps people to the toilet and then goes back to the kitchen. There is one member of staff doing the cleaning.”

They felt there were not enough staff, although other staff thought there were, and CQC agreed.

Seahorses could not provide CQC with a copy of the service’s fire risk assessment, and says: “Staff and leaders did not have a good understanding of people’s risks [and] the service did not adequately protect people from the risk of fire.”

Staff did not know that one person who could “choke easily” was at risk of choking.

Although the CQC had concerns, the report says users of the service and relatives did not express concerns and were happy with the care.

One said: “I always feel safe, there is someone to help if you need it, carers are nice to you. The doors are locked at the front.” 

Relatives echoed this, saying: “[Their relative is] definitely safe, I have not seen anything that has worried me. They are the kind of people you could approach and not be worried.”

The lowest score, one out of four, was for the home’s governance, management and sustainability.

The CQC states: “There was no clear system to ensure overall and consistent compliance within the service.”

The owner, Peter Coleman, said: “We had a manager that died in November. So it created a lot of confusion. 

“And we admit that the audits were not up-to-date, so everything's been rectified. We have a new manager appointed, and we have improved and will be improving.

“We have made all the requirements for CQC and Swindon Borough Council and we're back on track.”

Windows and locks were immediately replaced, with a fire risk assessment done and new emergency lighting and upgraded fire doors.

He said: “Everything has been actioned that they required us to.”

The home is “going digital” which will “enhance” its care.

The CQC made a safeguarding referral after it “felt people were at risk of significant harm from pressure damage”.

Peter says this referral has been dropped after “it was confirmed that nobody was actually at risk” after an investigation.

He added: “We are very proud of the work we do at Seahorses. We have been here 25 years, the death of our manager was a big shock - she had been with us 24 years. 

"And our new managers are in place and our improvements are ahead of where would be expected.”