Blackpool care home for sale after Covid deaths and unsafe medicine storage

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Feng Shui House in New South Promenade, Blackpool, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission in March 2021

Feng Shui House Care Home, Blackpool
Feng Shui House Care Home, Blackpool (Image: Google)

A Blackpool care home is up for sale after being faced with closure following a raft of serious issues being brought to light including a Covid outbreak and fatalities as well as storing refrigerated medicines at the wrong temperature.

Feng Shui House was visited by England’s healthcare watchdog, the Care Quality Commission, in a surprise inspection across three days in March this year.

There, CQC inspectors found a series of issues across the home.

Some of the most serious concerned medicines that required cold storage being unsafely kept and one resident being given the wrong dose of medicine.

Covid-19 was also a serious issue, with inspectors saying the New South Promenade care home “did not always follow best practice when preventing the spread of infection”.

The home suffered a Covid outbreak in February, with management saying those with the virus were cared for on a separate floor and remained in their rooms.

There was also different staff for those with Covid.

But some staff told inspectors that they had not been recently tested for the virus despite the care home saying all staff were tested on a regular basis. One member of staff also said they had had no training since starting at the home, including no training relating to the use of PPE – something the home organised after the issue was brought to light.

Sadly, four residents died as a result of Covid-19.

“We found no evidence people had been harmed. However, systems were either not in place or robust enough to demonstrate all risks related to infection prevention were assessed and managed,” inspectors said.

The internal lift used by residents and staff had been left un-serviced for 14 months despite needing to be seen to twice a year, putting those in it at risk of injury if an unknown fault was in place.

Inspectors said: “The lift was last examined January 2020 and was due to be examined in July 2020 and again January 2021.

“The maintenance audit and action plans dated 22 January 2021 and 19 February 2021 showed no significant shortcomings related to the passenger lift being serviced.

“The registered provider’s failure to mitigate risks related to health and safety placed people, staff and visitors at risk of avoidable harm.”

Inspectors were told by residents they felt safe living at Feng Shui House, with safeguarding measures in place for those with concerns.

Residents and staff also spoke positively about the food on offer and residents spoke fondly of staff.

Despite this, the home was rated Inadequate in the inspection report published last Tuesday (April 27) and placed in special measures. The home was previously rated Good in November 2019.

Three areas were rated on a specific basis, with an Inadequate rating given for safety and leadership. Effectiveness was rated as Requires Improvement.

Feng Shui House is now set to be reinspected within six months of the report.

If not enough improvement has been made, those running the facility could be forced out.

Inspectors said: “If the provider has not made enough improvement within this time frame and there is still a rating of inadequate for any key question or overall rating, we will take action in line with our enforcement procedures.

“This will mean we will begin the process of preventing the provider from operating this service.

“This will usually lead to cancellation of their registration or to varying the conditions the registration.”

Kate Blyth, who runs Feng Shui House Care Home, told LancsLive the home had been Covid free for 12 months prior to the outbreak.

“We managed to act on this pretty quickly after the initial shock, we made a Covid ward on the third floor,” Ms Blyth said.

“Others got it from them while sitting next to them in the lounge and before we knew it had taken hold, a total of 14 residents in all caught it. We were walking around like aliens in all the gear but regardless we managed to contain it and clear it within a month.

“Our team did a fantastic job in such a short period of time. This took its toll on staff members too and some have left care for good.”

Regarding a resident being given an incorrect dose of medicine, Ms Blyth said this “had nothing to do with the care home at all”, saying the supplier had incorrectly labelled rugs.

She told LancsLive she has made the decision to sell the facility “after being accused of killing residents whether they had the vaccine or not”.

“We had evidenced all the issues that had been raised in the action plan given to us by the council and the CQC. I even asked then to come back and re-visit,” she said.