A children's home put vulnerable youngsters in 'unsafe situations' and failed to give them medication, a watchdog report has found.
Ofsted has ordered that bosses at the facility in Tameside – which was not named – make urgent improvements after uncovering a raft of failings during an inspection.
The home cares for up to four children who may have needs relating to their disabilities or a sensory impairment.
Inspectors from Ofsted rated the home as ‘inadequate’ overall, after finding failures in how well children and young people are helped and protected and the effectiveness of leaders and managers.
“There are serious and widespread failures that mean children are not protected or their welfare is not promoted or safeguarded,” Ofsted said.
Social care inspectors found that children were not always receiving care that met their needs, and received inconsistent care.
“Safety plans are not always followed and on occasions the interim manager has not put safety plans in place to safeguard children. As a result, children have been put in unsafe situations,” Ofsted said.
There is not a procedure in place to ensure that children are restrained ‘appropriately’, the report states.
“Children are restrained without a detailed record about what the person completing the restraint has done to try and prevent a physical intervention before it is required,” inspectors said.
“Mechanical restraint is used without the necessary agreements and there is no record of when this happens.”
Additionally the Ofsted inspection discovered that children were not being administered medication safely.
Medication procedures were not ‘robust’ or in line with policy, the report stated.
“Children have missed medication; medication stock is not always accounted for and children are at risk of being left with no medication because it has not been ordered,” Ofsted said.
Inspectors added that the home was not designed to meet the diagnosed communication and sensory needs of the children living there.
“The children’s bedrooms do not have any furnishings to meet their sensory needs or equipment to stimulate them,” the report states.
“This results in children’s development potentially being negatively affected due to the lack of personalised stimulation.”
The inspectors said that hazardous items in the home had also not been risk assessed.
“Children who are not aware of physical hazards are not appropriately guided to ensure that they do not get hurt,” they stated.
“This has the potential for children to be physically hurt in their own home.”
Not all of the staff had been trained in different communication methods, and children were not offered independent advocates to ensure their voices were heard.
“Some adults who are caring for the children know their emotional triggers and respond to children when they are distressed,” inspectors said.
“However, the children are currently receiving care from a significant number of agency workers who do not have a good understanding of the children’s needs and are not always supported by permanent members of the team.”
There had been no permanent manager at the home since January 2021.
A lack of management presence and oversight of children’s care had resulted in ‘significant shortfalls in practice’, the Ofsted report stated.
“The children are currently receiving care from adults who do not have all the appropriate skills and knowledge to meet all their needs.”
A number of compliance notices were served following the inspection, and steps were taken by the provider to ensure that the children were ‘immediately safe’.