A HAMPSHIRE care home has been ordered to drastically improve care for elderly dementia patients following a catalogue of failures spotted during an inspection.

Vulnerable residents at the New Forest home are being put at risk by unsafe medicine management, insufficient infection control and a shortage of trained staff, inspectors have revealed.

The health watchdog warns it could ultimately be shut down unless it improves standards.

In one case an elderly patient was left slumped in pain despite family members making persistent attempts to help, while the damning report revealed some staff simply “ignored” patients.

The findings are part of a dossier compiled by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an on-the-spot inspection at the Fordingbridge Care Home.

Warnings Sentinel Health Care Limited – which runs four other homes in the New Forest and Romsey – has been issued with two formal warnings to improve following the catalogue of failures.

Inspectors threatened the Station Road-based centre –which opened less than two years ago – could face fines, restrictions on new patients or even closure unless things improve.

CQC staff swooped in unannounced on June 4 following reports of concerns.

The 60-bed care home, serving 43 people with dementia at the time, failed at least one standard in all five key categories scrutinised. The 38-page report revealed some staff showed residents a lack of respect and medicines were not managed safely.

Eight further failings included effective systems not being in place to reduce the risk and spread of infection, a lack of qualified staff to meet people’s needs and accurate records not being maintained.

Inspectors found that a minority of staff failed to treat people with “respect, dignity or compassion”, stating: “We saw that sometimes staff ignored people or were slow to intervene”.

In one case a resident, who was in pain, slid down a chair into an uncomfortable position.

Their relative asked two staff for help and were told to wait ten minutes so they could put the person in a wheelchair in time for tea.

Inspectors observed a confused and worried resident asking for help. The report said: “We saw there were up to four staff standing and sitting nearby during this period but none of them acknowledged the person’s distress.”

The second warning was issued after inspectors found failures in storing, managing, recording or handling medicines safely, with some patients at risk of missing out medicines in an emergency.

However, inspectors stated that they most observed “positive interactions” between patients and that most staff provided care and support in a “caring, unhurried way”.

Sentinel managing director Al Donnelly stressed he has already launched improvements and spoken to staff involved and patients’ relatives.

“It was a minority of staff who have been dealt with appropriately. The majority of staff, who are very good, are as horrified as we are.”

“We now have a committed work force that are dedicated and committed to delivering high standards of care and are continuing to do so.”

His improvements include more training, a new system for medicine control and better coverage of staff absences.

The home, employing 33 staff, is a sister establishment of Dunwood Manor and Cedar Lawn nursing homes, in Romsey, the New Forest Nursing Home, Lyndhurst, and Waverley Lodge for younger disabled adults in Sherfield English.

A CQC spokesman said: ‘These are serious issues that the home needs to put right. Our overall objective is for the care people receive to improve, but if it does not we can take further action.”