RESIDENTS of a Dorset nursing home could be at risk of harm and abuse after the service was branded "not safe" in a damning inspection report.

The inspection also found that Chestnut House Nursing Home in Charlton Down was "not always" effective, caring, responsive or well-led.

The home is run by London Residential Healthcare Limited, also known as The Future Care Group.

An unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) was carried out in August last year and a report was recently published.

The report said the service "requires improvement" overall, but when asked if people at the home were "protected from abuse and avoidable harm" the inspectors said the service was "inadequate."

In the report, inspectors said: "People were not always safe from abuse. This was because there had been a number of safeguarding incidents prior to and during the inspection dates where people had been harmed.

"This related to one person whose behaviour had changed significantly and they were physically harming other people and staff.

"The safeguarding measures initially put in place by the service had not reduced the risks to people."

Inspectors also raised a concern with the local safeguarding team during the inspection regarding "the alleged abuse of one person who was challenging both the service and other people."

At the time of the inspection there were 45 people living at Chestnut House, the majority of whom were older people living with dementia.

Despite this, inspectors wrote: "Staff did not have the experience, skills or knowledge to meet the needs of those people living with dementia, mental health needs, autism and complex nursing needs.

"Staff were mostly kind and caring and were fond of people. However, we observed some staff ignored some people who called out or were anxious, upset or difficult to engage with because they were living with dementia or did not communicate verbally.

"Two people, who were living with dementia, were not able to use call bells were repeatedly ignored when they called out from their bedrooms."

The service had a manager registered with the CQC but they left with immediate effect during the inspection and cancelled their registration.

According to the CQC, "the registered manager and the provider are legally responsible for how the service is run and for the quality and safety of the care provided."

Future Care Group operations director Micky Shirley said: "We recognise that families need to have confidence in the quality of care provided at Chestnut House Nursing Home.

"Since our last inspection we have recruited a new home manager who is now leading the team and working closely with the local authority and CQC.

"We are acting on their advice and recommendations to achieve an overall good report when next inspected."