A CARE home for adults with learning difficulties that was put into special measures following a visit from the Care Quality Commission is working on improvements.

The unannounced inspection was prompted by a whistleblower’s concerns about the restrictive and controlling culture of staff at Tithe Barn, near Ross-on-Wye.

The home was rated as ‘inadequate’ in all key areas after the inspection found a raft of serious issues, including allegations that some staff were disrespectful and abusive.

The report said the home was not safe, effective, caring, responsive, or well-led. People were not treated with compassion and there were breaches of dignity, while staff attitudes had significant shortfalls.

“People with learning disabilities and autism living at Tithe Barn were not supported to live as ordinary a life as any citizen,” the report said.

Problems were found with safeguarding and incident reporting, and there was little evidence of learning from events. Staffing issues were also highlighted as putting people at risk, with one staff member reportedly assaulted when left alone with three residents in a flat, and staff unable to locate a resident with poor personal safety awareness during the inspection.

Concerns were raised over the recording and monitoring of residents’ nutrition and the provision of timely, effective care, while privacy and dignity were not always respected.

“One person was left sat on the toilet with the door wide open in a communal area. The staff member supporting them was aware but did not take action to maintain the person’s dignity,” inspectors said.

Another area of serious concern was medicine management.

Inspectors found there had been three medication errors within seven days, which included one person being given another’s medication. Staff said they did not feel competent giving medication, but were still expected to do so.

A spokesman said: “Significant progress has been made since a staff whistleblowing highlighted alleged unacceptable practices at the home. We will not tolerate any shortfall in the standard of care and HR investigations into the issues raised are ongoing. We responded swiftly to bring in new and experienced managers, staff numbers have been increased and our team have reported that they feel well-supported in delivering effective care.

“Senior managers are overseeing the implementation of a comprehensive improvement plan and we are confident the CQC saw significant improvements during their follow up visit. We continue to work closely with the CQC, residents and their relatives to ensure the home delivers the sustained improvements which are required.”