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Black Isle care at home management judged 'weak' by inspectors


By Neil MacPhail

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Black Isle care service inspection.
Black Isle care service inspection.

THE management of a care at home service covering the Black Isle has been judged "weak" after an unannounced follow-up visit by the Care Inspectorate.

It also revealed that four areas for improvement called for after an earlier inspection last June had not been met by the August deadline.

Now the care provider Top-Care Inverness Ltd must meet a new improvement deadline of December 31 this year to make management improvements and deal with previous inspection requirements.

Top-Care was providing a service to more than 20 people when the three inspectors arrived in late September.

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Inspectors reviewed information about the service including previous inspection findings, registration information, information submitted by the service, and intelligence gathered since the last inspection.

They also spoke with 12 service users and their family, spoke with three staff and management, observed practice and daily life, reviewed documents, and spoke with three professionals.

Key messages were:

• Staff were recruited safely and offered an appropriate induction.

• People were unhappy with the way their visit times were managed.

• The provider must improve complaint handling.

• The provider needed to improve staff training.

• People and/or their family wanted more information about support being offered.

In evaluating: "How good was the staff team?" inspectors used scale where 1 is unsatisfactory and 6 is excellent, and Top-Care were given a 2 or Weak.

The inspection report said some strengths were found but these were compromised by "significant weaknesses".

There was particular concern about training of staff in moving and assisting service users, and staff competence assessment in this "important area of practice."

"Managers within the service did not demonstrate a clear understanding of their responsibilities to ensure that moving and assisting training complied with good practice guidance," said the report. "This put people's health and wellbeing at risk.

"Staff were not being provided with practical 'hands-on' training. Senior staff had completed an online 'train the trainer' course on moving and assisting but we had concerns about the value of this training."

Managers were advised to consider using support available within NHS Highland.

The four requirements called for in June but not met were -

  • that complaints are recorded in line with complaint's guidance and feedback is given.
  • the provider must evaluate the effectiveness of care schedules and continually assess planned visit times and duration to identify any issues that need to be looked at to "minimise the detrimental impact on people’s experiences."
  • the provider must ensure that people experience a service which is well led and managed, and which results in positive outcomes through a culture of continuous improvement.
  • service users must be told how their data is managed, and that they are offered choices to best suit their needs.

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