Care home slammed for giving opiates to patient who drank alcohol every day

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

Inspectors have warned a care home after a patient was given opiate medicine despite drinking booze every day.

The unnamed person took the medication four times a day even though it wasn’t meant to be used with alcohol. 

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) – a public body which inspects care homes – gave Aspinden Care Home in Aspinden Road, Southwark, a rating of ‘requires improvement’ in all areas, following an inspection on August 9.

Inspectors said patients at the home – which specialises in helping people with alcohol problems – were at risk of receiving unsafe care. 

The CQC report said: “At the last inspection we identified some people were prescribed medicines to be taken ‘as required’ (PRN) for specific needs and conditions but there were no protocols in place. The provider had introduced these PRN protocols, but they were still not robust.

“For example, one person was using an opiate medicine as a PRN four times a day. This medicine was also not meant to be taken with alcohol and this person was drinking every day.”

While inspectors acknowledged some improvements had taken place at the home since the CQC’s last visit, they said medicines were still not being managed safely.

The report continued: “This meant people were at risk of not receiving their medicines as prescribed. Risk assessments were not robust and were not updated when people’s needs changed. This meant people were at risk of receiving unsafe care.”

Despite this, inspectors acknowledged patients living in the centre liked living there and said staff knew how to stop people becoming victims of abuse.

Inspectors noted: “People told us they felt safe, and they were happy living at the home. Staff understood their responsibilities to safeguard people. One staff member told us, ‘If I noticed anything, I would speak to the person straight away. I let the manager know. I would also report it and I would ensure it was investigated.’” 

Aspinden Care Home provides care for 26 people. At the time of the inspection, 25 patients were living at the centre.

Equinox Care, which runs Aspinden Care Home, said: “Aspinden Care Home welcomes CQC inspections as they provide us with an external view of our service.

“I am pleased to say although the inspection has put the service as needing improvement in some areas, the inspection found our staff really do care and are making a positive difference to our residents lives.

“We report back to CQC on the improvements we’ve made monthly and since this recent inspection we have already acted on their recommendations. We have undertaken a full audit on medication, retrained staff and brought in a new service manager.”

Pictured top: Aspinden Care Home, Bermondsey (Picture: Google Street View)

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