A care service, where seven allegations of financial abuse were made in just over a month, has been rated Inadequate by government inspectors.
Dolphin Care, based in Wroxall, is a domiciliary care agency that provides personal care to 14 people in their own homes.
Allegations of financial abuse
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) which inspected the service at the beginning of January found allegations of financial abuse were incorrectly handled by the managers at the service.
Seven allegations of financial abuse were made between 18 October and 30 November, three of which were not reported to the safeguarding authority as required.
CQC: Incidents could have been avoided
While investigating the claims, the registered manager received clear evidence other people were at risk of abuse, however, they did not take action to protect other vulnerable people for three weeks.
During this time, four of the seven instances of financial abuse occurred. Inspectors said some of these could have been prevented if the correct procedures had been followed.
Manager: Money was reimbursed
Registered manager, Pauline Smart, said:
“At the time of the inspection, policies and procedures of the agency were found not to be robust enough to ensure service users were protected in accordance with CQC standards.
“Due to this financial abuse took place, reimbursement was made and apologies were given in writing. Agency policies and procedures are being urgently addressed to become CQC compliant and safe for all parts of service users care at this time.
“The feedback we have had back from service users is total support. They have all said how great the care is. Even in the report it says the clients are more than happy with the care they have been receiving and are still receiving.”
Inspectors said ‘widespread and significant shortfalls’ in leadership did not assure the delivery of safe, high quality care.
Service leaders had not recognised their own failings, and relied on external organisations to identify improvements.
“They had not recognised their handling of seven allegations of financial abuse had been inadequate and led to people suffering harm. They had not identified that safe recruitment practices had not been following, resulting in an unsuitable member of staff being employed.”
Staff did not always record the details of dispensed medicines, meaning people had been at risk of not receiving their medication safely.
When observing moving and handling techniques, one staff member described an unsafe way to support a person to transfer from an armchair to a walking frame. The manager agreed all staff would undertake training as a matter of urgency.
Although the service was rated inadequate overall, inspectors said the service was good for caring and responsiveness.
Praise for staff
People praised the service and said they felt happy and supported and staff showed an awareness of people’s needs.
One person told inspector:
“They work around me. It’s very much what I want and when I want it.”
Ms Smart said:
“Staff at Dolphin care have endeavoured to maintain a high standard of care, being rated good for care provided and for effectiveness taking into account wishes and needs of its service users.
“It’s just the policies and procedures have not been robust enough to prevent financial abuse.”
Read the report in full.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed