A Northamptonshire care home that was under police investigation has been rated Inadequate, following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

CQC inspected Temple Court, Kettering, on 12 and 13 May 2020.

The inspection was prompted by information indicating people could be at risk of harm.

A police investigation was launchedin June after it was reported that fifteen suspected coronavirus deaths had happened at the home.

At that time, the findings of the CQC inspection were not known.

Inspectors say they found the service was falling significantly short of standards people should be able to expect, and that it had not met its statutory obligation to inform CQC about serious incidents without delay - including when people died or suffered injuries.

Temple Court, run by Amicura Limited, is a nursing home registered to care for up to 54 older people - including people living with dementia. There were 21 residents on the first day of inspection; all were moved out by the end of the second day, following a joint decision by the clinical commissioning group and local authority.

No one is using the service currently.

Inspectors found that people's health had deteriorated because the service's leaders had little oversight of the home and insufficient understanding of residents' needs.

The service also admitted 15 people when it did not have resources to meet their needs.

People were malnourished and dehydrated because there was poor management of their diets.

While inspectors were onsite, several people were admitted to hospital with dehydration by community nurses who had been deployed to the home.

We also found evidence of unexplained injuries, which are now being investigated by the local authority under safeguarding procedures.

Basic observations were not always completed, and staff did not always seek medical care when it was needed. Infection prevention and control - including relating to catheter care - was not always well managed, and people's dignity was not consistently maintained. We also found insufficient measures to protect people from falls.

Following the inspection and identification of safeguarding concerns, a criminal investigation - led by Northamptonshire Police - is underway.

Deanna Westwood, CQC head of inspection for adult social care, said:

"Our inspection of Temple Court identified serious failings which led to people suffering harm."The service had not provided us with timely notification about serious incidents, including deaths and serious injuries, and when instances of possible abuse - such as unexplained bruising - were identified. Services are legally required to notify CQC without delay when these serious incidents happen, so we can provide support and make interventions when needed.

Deanna Westwood, CQC

In a statement from the care home's owners Amicura. a spokesperson said:

“We are astonished the CQC report has chosen to disregard the reason why standards at Temple Court deteriorated – the home was completely overwhelmed due to the Covid-19 epidemic. “Our priority has always been the wellbeing of our residents and giving them the best care possible, and we are very disappointed that the root cause of the sudden deterioration of standards has simply been swept under the carpet.”