Residents at an inadequate care home are at risk of abuse and neglect, a report has found.

Walberton Place Care Home in Arundel has been put in special measures following the inspection from the Care Quality Commission in October.

The home, in Yapton Lane, had previously been rated requires improvement for the last four consecutive inspections.

Inspectors said residents “were not always protected from abuse and improper treatment” at the home, which cares for people aged 65 and over, medicines were not always given safely, there was poor leadership and residents were “not safe”.

There were also concerns that staff were not consistently following safe infection prevention and control practices and that when inspectors arrived there was an “outbreak” of Covid.

Inspectors said they raised safeguarding alerts for two people following the inspection due to concerns about “improper treatment and potential neglect”.

Another was also raised for a resident on end-of-life care who was not being given the care and support they needed.

The CQC said the local authority told them there had been an increase in the number of safeguarding concerns reported by health and social care professionals who visited the home.

The inspection was partly prompted by the death of a resident at the home, the report said.

“This incident is subject to further investigation by CQC as to whether any regulatory action should be taken,” the report said.

“As a result, this inspection did not examine the circumstances of the incident. However, the information shared with CQC about the incident indicated potential concerns about the management of risk of hydration and nutrition.”

Serious concerns were raised about how those at risk of choking were treated.

Inspectors described how a staff member was seen trying to feed a resident who was at high risk of choking.

They said the resident “appeared to be unaware of what was happening” and the food had to be removed from their mouth.

“Despite the lack of response, the staff member continued to encourage the person to eat the food which they had put into their mouth,” the report said.

“The person did not respond and did not swallow the food, this meant they were at increased risk of choking or aspiration. The staff member then used a tissue to remove the food from the person's mouth. This did not support the person's safety or dignity.”

With another resident who had dementia some staff “did not know what to do” and “ignored” them when they were expressing distress.

“We observed staff were not consistent in their approach,” said the report.

“Some staff appeared to lack confidence and did not know what to do. Some staff approached the person, held their hand and reassured them, this appeared to calm them.

“Other staff ignored them or encouraged them to be quiet. We asked a staff member how they supported the person to reduce their anxiety and they told us, ‘there's nothing you can do really’.”

Country Court, the operator of Walberton Place, said it was disappointed with the overall findings and has been “working hard” to rectify the issues identified and has put in place a “robust action plan” which has been shared with the CQC.

Operations director Helen Richmond said: “The standards at Walberton Place were not at the high levels we demand in our care homes.

“We took immediate action on the concerns raised and feel it is necessary to make changes to the management of the home to ensure we can offer the right care for our residents. We will be continuing to work alongside families, residents and CQC to ensure Walberton Place returns to its previous excellent level of care.”

The CQC will re-inspect the home within the next six months to check it has made significant improvements.