AN ELDERLY resident in a Westcliff nursing home wasn’t helped to the toilet... because a carer thought he didn’t need to go.

This was one of a catalogue of unacceptable examples of care at Alexander House Private Nursing Home, First Avenue, recorded by the health watchdog.

The inspection has led to the home being branded inadequate by the CQC - and told to improve immediately.

Home bosses have strongly defended themselves and say the report is the product of "a flawed inspection".

They say a further inspection has taken place and a separate report is due to be published imminently which will improve on the inadequate label and lift it to 'requires improvement'.

The critical report said: “One person was observed to wait half-an-hour, and during the wait had become incontinent. Staff told us ‘they don’t really need to go to the toilet, they just want to move around and they can’t independently’.”

Inspectors also found one person who required a bedrail but didn’t have a bedrail bumper, was left by staff with a dirty mattress on the floor next to the bed, in case the person fell.

First-floor residents had fire escape doors which led from their bedrooms to a balcony. This hadn’t been assessed for risk of people exiting unsupervised, or for the potential of falls.

When investigating what measures were in place at the home to safeguard people from the risk of abuse, staff didn’t always understand events or incidents that might indicate safeguarding concerns.

The CQC said: “There were significant language barriers to discussing safeguarding concerns. One member of staff said: ‘What is safeguarding?’.”

Inspectors also found medicines were not administered safely, and observed a number of poor infection control practices.

The report said: “ One member of staff had a very chesty cough and was supporting a person to eat. They kept turning away and coughing into their hand, the same hand that was used to give the person food from a spoon. This increased the risk of spread of infection.”

As a result of these findings, the care home has remained in special measures from its previous inspection last December, when it was rated inadequate.

The CQC has revealed not enough improvement had been made since, and the provider was still in breach of regulations, including safe care and treatment, person-centred care, and good governance.

Services which are in special measures will be kept under review, and will be inspected again within six months if they are allowed to continue operating.

At this inspection 16 people were living there, some of whom have dementia.

A spokesman for Health and Home Essex Ltd, which runs the home, said: "The report which has been published on the CQC website is the product of, in our judgement a flawed inspection, and was the subject of an appeal by the Provider to the Care Standards tribunal.

"Following constructive discussions with the CQC prior to the scheduled hearing, the Provider agreed that it would withdraw its appeal, subject to the CQC conducting a further inspection.

"This inspection took place on 16th July 2019, and was conducted in a far more open manner.

"Areas highlighted as being a risk in the June inspection, were judged as being satisfactory in the follow up inspection. Although the CQC has yet to issue its draft report for the July inspection we have been advised that the home will no longer be assessed as being inadequate and will be uplifted to 'requires improvement'.

"We are very disappointed that the report was published separately for the June inspection, as we were led to believe that the two inspections would merge. We continue to hold the safety and care of our residents as our top priority."