A CARE home where staff told inspectors they locked themselves in the office due to risks from people living at the service has been placed in special measures.

Nayland Lodge, in Mile End, Colchester, was inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) over three dates in December, with officials looking particularly into the safety, leadership, and effectiveness of the care.

Findings from the unannounced inspection were then published last week.

The home, which looks after those with learning disabilities, and mental illness, received an overall rating of inadequate.

The healthcare watchdog now also has the option to cancel the registration attributed to the provider, Reed Care Homes.

It was also the fourth time in as many inspections Nayland Lodge, which has not had a registered managed in five years, failed to achieve a good rating.

Inspectors found the Nayland Lodge website was not displaying its previous ratings on its website, despite it being a legal requirement.

The safety and leadership at the care home were given the lowest possible rating, and the effectiveness of the care home was also found to be requiring improvement.

The inspection report found staff felt unable to manage people who were in extreme distress and presenting a risk to others.

The report detailed interviews with staff members who told the CQC they had locked themselves in the office or medication room because of the risks of people living at the care home.

Other residents would stay in their rooms out of fear, with one carer telling inspectors: “We definitely feel unsafe.

“We did restraint training about six months ago; [I’m] not sure what level it was, but it wasn't good enough for the clients we have now.”

Parts of the building were also found to be in disrepair; the CQC report detailed how door frames were heavily soiled with dirt, plug seals were broken, and paint was flaking.

Dirt and dust were also found in the medication room, and soap dispensers were empty, and members of staff were wearing long painted nails, which goes against the provider’s infection control policy.

Problems with staffing levels were identified by the CQC.

Poorly kept record meant lessons were not learned from mistakes or incidents, with many records left incomplete since August of last year.

Questions were also raised by the CQC as to whether the rights of residents was being respected; CCTV was in use in Nayland Lodge’s communal areas, but the care provider had failed to obtain people’s consent before they were monitored on CCTV.

Positives following the inspection involved a good relationship between the Nayland Lodge care home and its GP practice, which meant assistance from medical professionals was there when needed.

Responding to the CQC’s findings, Karen Reed, the director of Nayland Lodge, said the management team are working to make improvements to the management structure so the rating could be improved at another inspection in the near future.

She said: “Obviously, management are extremely disappointed regarding the report and have already made significant improvements in our system processes to ensure our paperwork is compliant.

“We are working hard with our regulator who acknowledges that the care given to the service users at Nayland Lodge has never been in question, and has always been rated good.

“Whilst we are disappointed, we are working hard to rectify the failings identified by the CQC report.

“The last couple of years have been extremely difficult within the care industry following Covid, which has impacted on staff, staff recruitment and the state of the care system.

“The whole industry is in turmoil and therefore inducting new staff has meant, sometimes, the paperwork falls behind as we prioritise the care – but we recognise going forward that we need to balance both."

Mrs Reed added that Nayland Lodge is also working on a community garden project alongside councillor Martin Goss to help the care home integrate with the community.

As well as this, she added the management team had been restructured to improve the leadership at the care home.

“We now have a very good management system in place and I’m confident as the owner that when we are reinspected in a few weeks that the hard work of the teams will be acknowledged and we will once again be rated good.”