Residents of a Merseyside care home “missed” their medicine and staff were at risk of blood borne viruses, due to unsafe practices.

This was what a CQC (Care Quality Commission) report into Evergreen Lodge, in Birkenhead, Wirral, found.

The findings saw the care home receive the lowest possible rating of ‘inadequate’.

This comes less than eight months after the previous report into the care home, which also rated it ‘inadequate’.

Evergreen Lodge provided full-time care for 33 people at the time of the inspection – in early December. Most of them lived with dementia or other mental health issues.

Huge problems in the home’s management of medicine were found.

People “missed” some of their prescribed medicines because they were either not in stock or nurses were unaware they had been delivered.

Others were at risk of being given doses of medicines too close together or at the wrong times because there was no system in place to prevent this.

One resident went without medication on two separate occasions because staff had failed to turn on equipment used by the person to self-administer their medicine.

Staff training issues made the medicine debacle even worse.

The care home’s staff “lacked guidance” on how to administer medicines hidden in food or drink.

Some medicines could not be given safely by covert administration.

Despite this, nurses had either given them this way or people missed their medication because of this.

Allergies were not properly recorded. This meant people were at risk of being given medication they were allergic to.

Not following guidelines may sound trivial, but the CQC’s report shows it is not.

Some staff members got so-called “needle-stick injuries” – wounds caused by needles that accidentally puncture the skin, because they were not following guidelines on how to use needles safely.

This increased their risk of contracting blood borne viruses – which include HIV and Hepatitis B and C.

Poor management and delegation was at the heart of the report’s criticisms.

The CQC found nurses delegated tasks to care assistants without any evidence that they were competent to carry them out.

The report noted: “This placed people at significant risk of avoidable harm. The manager and provider were both unaware of this practice.”

But the report adds that management did take action to stop this practice when it was drawn to their attention.

Staff did not always follow people’s care plans. This had serious consequences.

The report states: “For example, some people lived with diabetes. Clinical checks to monitor their diabetes were completed.

“There was no evidence however that any action was taken when these checks identified serious risks to people’s health and well-being.”

Another person required specific nutritional and oral care from nursing staff.

Despite a clearly defined requirement, this person “did not receive the care they needed in accordance with their care plan”.

The care home was also criticised for its staff drying people’s wet hair in the communal lounge, as this was undignified and failed to respect people’s modesty and right to privacy.

Going forward, the care home wants to revive its reputation and believes it has done what is necessary to achieve this.

Mark Banks, manager of Evergreen Lodge, said: “The issues raised in the report have been resolved. We look forward to the CQC returning to validate them.”

Cllr Chris Jones, Wirral Council’s cabinet member for adult care and health, said: “Wirral Health and Care Commissioning (WHCC), alongside the CQC, met with the owner of Evergreen Lodge just last week on January 16.

“We are supporting the provider while they produce and work to an action plan to meet the improvements required by the CQC.

“Social care staff are making the necessary reviews, while a suspension on new admissions to the provider remains in place.

“This joined up approach hopes to arrange a way forward for Evergreen Lodge, ensuring that they make adequate progress.”