AN ANDOVER disability charity has been criticised in a damning report which revealed delayed waiting times for assistance and the risk of infections to residents.

Enham Trust Care Home Services received an unannounced inspection from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) from April 10 to 12 which focused on the charity’s three care homes, Michael, Elizabeth and William Houses.

Inspectors raised a catalogue of concerns, rating the service as ‘requires improvement’, with four aspects – effectiveness, caring, responsive and well-led receiving the mark.

The CQC also uncovered fears about the safeness of the homes, rating this category ‘inadequate’, with one resident claiming they had to wait 45 minutes before being able to go to bed after pressing their call bell and another had to wait for “some time” for assistance to use the toilet.

The report, published on July 16, read: “The service was unable to ensure that call bells would be answered in a reasonable amount of time or that the care required by people could be provided when needed.“Changes to staffing had left some people reluctant to use their call bells, others waiting for extended periods for support and at times continence care was missed.”

The fears were mirrored by some staff members as one employee said they were “frightened a tragedy may happen”.

The CQC also revealed low levels of legionella bacteria had been detected in the water system of Elizabeth House in late 2017 and actions had not been taken by February 2018 from the first assessment.

And inspectors discovered the service did not have “the right people, with the right qualifications and skills, in post to oversee this area of responsibility”.

Residents told inspectors they were also not happy about the approach when they left their homes as this would be told to a member of staff and was not communicated to colleagues.

“One person told us they had been ‘grilled about their whereabouts’ in the dining room in front of others when information had not been shared about where they were going. They said they found this humiliating and it made them angry,” the report added.

However, the homes were praised by the CQC for its management of medicine and for its recruitment procedure.

It also noted that people were supported with their nutrition, but people were not “entirely happy” with the food provision as it was “often still cold and the names of some meals were confusing”.

Inspectors found that care plans were detailed and included clear instructions as to how to best to support people, and staff treated people with dignity.

Chief executive Heath Gunn said: “Enham Trust acknowledges its recent overall rating of ‘requires improvement’ from the Care Quality Commission following an inspection of its three residential care homes.

“We are encouraged by the positive feedback we received which included person centred care plans, the safe management of medicines and the delivery of care by high quality and skilled care staff.

“In line with our commitment to providing high-quality care, we were open and transparent with the CQC during their visit; communicating areas that we were improving such as enhancing our fire safety measures and legionella work.

“We are putting a detailed and robust action plan in place to comprehensively address the areas for improvement as suggested by our inspector, alongside the improvements we had already identified.

“We will keep the CQC updated of our progress.”