Tilbury care home failed to meet needs of residents

A PRIVATE care home in Tilbury has been slated by the Quality Care Commission for failing to protect residents’ safety and welfare.

The Grapecroft Care Home is not meeting 10 essential standards says the Commission which has told the owners, Festival Care Homes, they must make improvements to comply with the essential standards of quality and safety.

A report published by CQC says Festival Care Homes Limited, was not meeting 10 of the 11 standards inspectors looked at when they visited the home in Calcutta Road and in five of these areas major concerns were identified.

The visit to Grapecroft Care Home, which provides care for older people, took place in November as part of CQC’s routine programme of inspections.

When inspectors visited the home they found the care provided is falling short of standards people should be able to expect and improvements are needed.

Areas of major concern included.

Care and welfare of people who use the services

Inspectors found care plans were not always up to date or reflective of people’s needs or they lacked sufficient detail to guide staff. This meant that people living in the home could not be assured that their care needs would be met or that the care provided would be of an acceptable standard.

Meeting nutritional needs

People who needed assistance in eating or drinking did not always have a care management plan in place to inform staff of how much help they needed. Some people had not been weighed for lengthy periods and records relating to people’s weight were sometimes inconsistent. This meant that people could not always be assured that their nutritional needs were being met.


There were inadequate staffing levels to ensure the health and welfare of people in the service was being maintained. There were also insufficient numbers of senior staff to ensure that staff received the appropriate guidance and support.

Supporting staff

There were gaps in staff training and supervision which meant the care team may not have all the support knowledge and skills required to meet the needs of people living at the home.

Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision

Inspectors found that quality assurance systems at the home were not robust enough and they did not include seeking the views of people living at the home or their advocates.

Frances Carey, Regional Director of CQC in the East of England, said: “The failings at Grapecroft Care Home are a real concern and improvements need to be made.

“The provider needs to ensure its care plans are up to date and contain the right information to guide staff so that people receive the support they need. It also needs to ensure it has robust systems in place to check its service provision and that the appropriate number of staff are available to care for people at the home.”

During their visit, inspectors also identified moderate concerns in relation to respecting and involving people who use services, safeguarding people who use services and cleanliness and infection control. They had minor concerns about the management of medicines and complaints and the home was compliant in one area, requirements relating to workers.

Frances Carey added: “CQC has been working closely with Thurrock Council to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the residents and we have told the provider where they need to improve.

“Where improvements are not made we have a range of enforcement powers that can be used, including prosecution, closure or restriction of services. “

Thurrock Council has backed the actions of the Commission and has also issued a statement which read: “Thurrock Council supports the actions of the Care Quality Commission in relation to the Grapecroft care home.

In September this year the Council itself placed an embargo on further placements at Grapecroft after a contract compliance visit identified a number of concerns over the quality of care there.

The council’s priority is the safety, care and dignity of the residents.

The concerns identified by the Council match those of the CQC – the staffing levels have not been of sufficient numbers nor of sufficient quality to deliver the level of care that would be expected in a residential care home for over 60 vulnerable older people.

Since September, the council and its partners — including NHS South Essex — have been working closely with the home, its staff, residents and their families to ensure the problems are addressed and to help create and act on specific action plans.

The home has been subject to weekly monitoring visits (some un-announced) and has been required to produce a detailed action plan to address the concerns identified. Until these concerns have been fully addressed the embargo will remain in place and no new placements will be agreed.

Cllr Tony Fish, the Council’s portfolio holder for adult social care, said: “The care of vulnerable adults remains my top priority and I am very concerned to find this private care home was not up to expected standards.

“This came to light through the council’s own inspection procedures and we brought it to the attention of the CQC who undertook their own visit.

“We and our partners from health have been in constant discussions with the home and CQC and well as providing a wide range of support for the home itself to bring it back up to the expected standards and I am confident this will be done.

“It is also worth noting that CQC has requested that several action plans be put in place and the council is working with the home to help put these in place as soon as possible.”

Pól Toner, Director of Quality, Patient Experience and Nursing at NHS South Essex added: “We are now actively working with Grapecroft House, in support of the council, in providing health input and advice to ensure that this home returns to the expected standards that are required.”