A NURSING home, which had already been told to improve, has now been placed in special measures by the care watchdog amid fresh concerns over the "basic safety" and lack of dignity of residents.

The Care Quality Commission has taken action to protect the 52 people who were living at Holme House Care Home in Gomersal, at the time of the latest inspection in February.

The home, which was registered to provide both residential and nursing care, including for people living with dementia, was previously inspected in 2015 and found to require improvement.

Debbie Westhead, CQC’s deputy chief inspector for adult social care said: “People are entitled to services which provide safe, effective, responsive and high quality care. We found that the care provided at Holme House Care Home fell a long way short of what we expect services to provide.

“We inspected this home in October 2015 and told them where they needed to improve. It is disappointing that there has been a lack of action taken since the previous inspection, and also worrying that we found fresh concerns.

“We were worried about the basic safety of people living at this service. There were no fire extinguishers available on some parts of the service, cleaning materials were stored in an unlocked cupboard and there were not enough suitably qualified staff on duty putting people at risk.

“People were not always supported to live in a way which maintained their dignity. We saw people using their fingers to eat food such as scrambled egg and baked beans which is unacceptable. Whilst eating with their fingers may be better for some people, we would expect them to be provided with appropriate finger food.

“We are working with partners including Kirklees Council to ensure the safety of people using this service.”

Inspectors found that the Oxford Road home did not have effective systems in place to monitor the care being delivered to people.

There were also insufficient numbers of suitably deployed staff to meet people's needs in a timely manner and people were left unsupervised.

People told inspectors they were not satisfied with the meals at Holme House and observations of meal times raised concerns about the suitability of the food for some people and the skills and deployment of staff to meet people's needs.

Although inspectors found that staff interacted with people with a kind and caring approach, they did not always demonstrate respect for people's individual likes and preferences.

The situation will now be kept under review and the home will be inspected again within six months, and significant improvements are expected to have been made by then.

In response to the CQC's findings, James Creegan, director of care at Croft Carehomes Ltd, which runs Holme House, said: "It is with deep sadness that on the day of the visit from the CQC the quality of care at our care home fell well below the standard we have set ourselves and for this there is no excuse.

"The home had undergone significant change to its management structure and with the recruitment of registered nurses being incredibly difficult within the whole of the care sector, as well as the NHS, it had been difficult to attract quality nurses resulting in an over-reliance on agency staff. This put significant pressure on the existing staff team which led to an inconsistent and poorly-led service.

"The inspection took place in February 2017 and since then the senior management of the company have been working hard alongside the care home’s newly appointed management team to put things right.

"Since the inspection the home has been monitored by Kirklees Council’s Contracting team and they have found the home to be providing a high standard of care.

"The new manager and deputy manager and their team have worked extremely hard to return the home to its former standards and we are confident that if the CQC re-inspected the care home today they would see marked levels of improvement.

"It has taken the CQC over four months to publish their report and the company asked the CQC to re-visit the home by letter on 3rd July 2017 and this request was refused by their Northern Area Inspection Manager.

"The care home is now a much better place where staff are well supported, residents are well cared for, and their families consulted about how they want care to be delivered.  We would invite people to come and visit the care home anytime to see the improvements that have been made.

"We believe that the hard work of all the team is paying off and we are confident that this difficult time is behind us and we can go forward providing the excellent care we are known for at Holme House where residents and their families are central to our care provision.

"Residents and their relatives have been very complimentary about the changes the home has made and we have assured them that we are working hard to put things back on track after what has been a difficult period for the home."