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Covid concern care home rated inadequate.

A care home at the centre of a police investigation after the deaths of 15 residents during the coronavirus pandemic has been rated inadequate.

Health and care regulator, The Care Quality Commission (CQC) identified "serious failings which led to people suffering harm" at Temple Court care home, Kettering.

The home was initially closed amid serious concerns from the CQC after a major coronavirus outbreak in which the care regulator conceded that Temple Court had been "completely overwhelmed" by Covid-19.

A spokesman for the home said: "We are astonished the CQC report has chosen to disregard the reason why standards at Temple Court deteriorated. We were completely overwhelmed due to the Covid-19 epidemic.

"An influx of residents from the NHS led to an outbreak of Covid-19 which affected existing residents and a large proportion of staff, including the manager and entire senior team.

"This left the home disproportionately reliant on the use of available agency staff, with very little opportunity to adequately train them on our policies and procedures."

CQC inspectors who visited Temple Court found the care home had not informed it about serious incidents without delay, including when people died or suffered injuries.

The CQC found residents' health had deteriorated through a lack of oversight and an insufficient understanding of their needs.

Head of inspection for adult social care, Deanna Westwood, said: "Our inspection of Temple Court identified serious failings which led to people suffering harm."

She said the situation at the home was "unacceptable" and added that the service was not currently in use and no new residents would be admitted "unless we are fully assured that they can be cared for safely.”

The CQC report said people had been malnourished and dehydrated because of poor management of their diets.

It added that the home admitted 15 residents when it did not have resources to meet their needs and several people had to go to hospital with dehydration.

Other failings included observations not always being completed, staff not always seeking medical care when it was needed, infection prevention and control - including catheter care - not being well managed, and insufficient measures to protect people from falls.

All of the home's 21 residents were moved out by the end of the second day of the inspection after a decision by the Nene Clinical Commissioning Group and Northamptonshire County Council.

Evidence of unexplained injuries found by CQC inspectors were being investigated by the county council as part of an inquiry under section 42 of the Care Act, which applies in cases of abuse or neglect allegations.