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Serious failings at Cheshire care home.

A CARE home has been told to make urgent improvements after a surprise visit by inspectors found it was failing to keep its elderly residents safe.

The unannounced inspection of Care Home, Church Lawton, Cheshire, found several serious failings.

As a result, independent health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has rated the home 'inadequate' and placed it in special measures.

The home is part of the Gloucestershire-based Blanchworth Care Group, which manages 10 care homes with nursing.

CQC inspectors visited Alsager Court, which can accommodate up to 27 residents, in May.

The inspection found failings including a lack of qualified, skilled and experienced staff to meet people's needs, particularly at night; heavy reliance on agency staff to ensure sufficient cover, poor medicine management and a risk that people were not receiving their medication as prescribed.

Other failings included that residents were deprived of their liberty without appropriate authorisation; the home was not suitably modified to support those with dementia and residents were not always helped to eat and drink adequately.

CQC's Deputy Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care in the north, Debbie Westhead, said: "It is essential that action is taken to address the concerns we identified at this inspection.

"The registered providers have a responsibility to ensure that people are safe and protected from the risk of harm. All people living at the home have a right to receive care which is of a high quality, compassionate and safe.

"It is of significant concern that the service did not seek to assess the needs of the people living there under the Mental Capacity Act and operated the service with minimum levels of staff."

The care home will be inspected again within six months to check if improvements have been made. If not, the CQC warns that its registration could be cancelled.

The CQC said it has been working with Cheshire East Council since the inspection to ensure that residents were not at risk.