A WINCHESTER care home has been given legal notice to immediately improve its care of elderly patients, some of whom suffer from dementia, after failing a second health watchdog inspection.

The warnings were issued by the Care Quality Commission following a surprise inspection at the St Cross Grange over two days in May.

Their visit was prompted by a cluster of complaints to the commission that essential care standards were not being met at the care home, where the Hampshire Chronicle understands a room costs in the region of £1,000 a week.

Inspectors failed St Cross Grange on eight aspects of assessed care, with enforcement action taken on five categories, including the care and welfare of residents, and managing of medication.

The visit report said inspectors found that an allegation that a care worker roughly handled an elderly patient had not been referred to Hampshire County Council’s Adult Services safeguarding team, as it should have been.

“An incident of alleged abuse had not been managed safely to protect people until prompted by our visit,” it said.

“Systems were not in place to ensure management and staff learnt from events such as accidents and incidents, complaints, concerns and investigations.

“This increases the risk of harm to people and fails to ensure that lessons are learned from mistakes.”

The report said that 18 per cent of the home’s residents had been hospitalised at the same time, mostly due to illness, this Spring and five residents died between February and April 2014.

“It was not clear that this rate of deterioration in people’s health had been adequately identified, investigated and reviewed,” the report said.

“This meant people were not adequately protected from unsafe care and support.”

A new manager has been brought in since the inspection to bring the running of the home within statutory regulations.

Other failures outlined in the report included:

- The mismanagement of residents’ medication, putting “people at risk of harm”.

- Dementia patients at risk of having their movement around the home unlawfully restricted.

- Residents losing weight and in danger of malnutrition not being correctly monitored.

- People put at risk of choking because of a failure to follow protocol.

- Failure to turn bed-bound patients frequently enough, with no evidence of one elderly person being turned for nine hours.

- Residents at risk of dehydration, with records for one person showing they were not offered drinks between 1300 on 15 May 2014 and 0830 on 16 May 2014.

- Failure to give residents enough baths or showers with one person, who had not had a shower for over a week, saying “They keep promising one, and then they say they haven’t got time.”

The report also recorded how the care home’s employees did not feel supported by their management system and felt overworked.

St Cross Grange Care Home, in St Cross Road, Winchester, failed an inspection by health watchdogs last year after it was found not meet 10 “essential standards”, including safety and leadership.

Earlier in 2013 former manager Anne Taylor was struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council after allowing a 94-year-old patient to choke to death at the home in 2009.

A statement from owners Greensleeves Homes Trust said they took the points raised in this latest report “extremely seriously”.

“St Cross Grange care home is completely committed to the welfare and well-being of its residents. We have implemented an action plan and are working closely with them and the local authority,” it said.

“We have met the agreed deadlines for action and continue to work towards returning the home to full compliance again. These actions are being taken in consultation with residents and their families.

“We are also providing additional support for the home through our experienced head office operations team, as well as from our most experienced Home Managers.

“We are committed to ensuring St Cross Grange will again be fully compliant in the near future.”

A spokesman for the Care Quality Commission said that the care home will be inspected again in the near future.