A HAMPSHIRE care home has been ordered to make drastic improvements or face being shut down following the deaths of five residents.

Standards of care were so appalling at the home that health watchdogs have warned they could be forced to remove people or ultimately close it completely unless immediate action is taken.

The Care Quality Commission went into the 64-bed home in Winchester, which provides specialist dementia care for the elderly, after it failed an earlier inspection and following more complaints about levels of care.

But inspectors once again found conditions unacceptable and St Cross Grange was failed yet again.

A scathing report revealed how:

  • Five residents died within weeks of each other following a sudden deterioration in their health 
  • 14 residents – a fifth of those living there – ended up hospitalised at one time
  • People were put at risk of harm because medication wasn’t managed properly
  • Dementia patients were at risk of having their movement around the home unlawfully restricted
  • Elderly residents lost weight and were in danger of malnutrition and dehydration
  • Others were at risk of choking because rules were not followed
  • Bed bound residents were not turned frequently – with one person left for nine hours
  • Staff failed to provide residents with enough baths and showers with one person left unwashed for a week

The report, produced by the Care Quality Commission, told how five residents at the St Cross Road home had died between February and April this year.

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

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

The damning report also revealed how those being cared for were at risk of dehydration, with records for one person showing they were not offered drinks between 1pm on May 15 this year and 8.30am the following day.

People living there described how they had been left unwashed for long periods of time – in one case a week – when staff said they had ran out of time to bathe them.

The two-day inspection in May also found that an allegation that a care worker abused an elderly patient had not been referred to the Hampshire County Council department which monitors abuse, as it should have been.

The Care Quality Commission told the Daily Echo the case was so serious that the home could be subjected to another surprise inspection at any time of day or night over coming days or weeks.

A spokesman said: “We go in unannounced. We want to see that whatever they are doing, they are doing it right.”

Warning that St Cross Grange could ultimately be closed if it failed to improve, the spokesman added: “If we absolutely have to we would (close it) but we try to find other ways.”