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Archived: Able Support Ltd Good


Inspection carried out on 9, 15 and 18 February 2016

During a routine inspection

This was an announced inspection, carried out on 9, 15 and 18 February 2016. ‘48 hours’ notice of the inspection was given because the registered manager is often out of the office supporting staff or providing care. We needed to be sure that they would be available in the office.

Able Support is a large domiciliary care agency based in St. Helens. It offers care and support to 450 people in their own homes including personal care. The agency has offices based in St. Helens and is registered as a supplier of services to St. Helens and Knowsley local authorities. They employ 150 support staff.

The last inspection of Able Support was carried out on 26 September 2014. This was a focused inspection following actions which needed to be taken by the provider to address areas of non-compliance. This was from an inspection carried out on 19 November 2013. We found that the service was meeting all the regulations that were assessed.

The service had a registered manager who had in post since April 2015. A registered manager is a person who has registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Like registered providers, they are ‘registered persons’. Registered persons have legal responsibility for meeting the requirements in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated Regulations about how the service is run.

People’s needs were assessed and risk assessments were in place. People’s histories, wishes and preferences were not consistently reflected within their care plans. Daily records which were maintained for each person showed they had received the care and support stated in the care plan. Care plans were regularly reviewed. By not having a full life history and people’s wishes and preferences not being documented staff were left with insufficient information to fully meet people’s needs.

People had no concerns about their safety and the way they were treated by staff. There were systems in place to protect people from abuse which included training for staff and policies and procedures for staff to follow. Staff spoken with demonstrated a good understanding of what action needed to taken in the event of a person being at risk from harm. Recruitment practices helped ensure that only people suitable to work with vulnerable people were employed by the service. Recruitment of staff was thorough and safe which ensured people received support from staff who were fit and suitable for the job. People were supported by the right amount of suitably qualified staff.

People told us that the staff were very caring. They told us that they had a core team of staff going into their homes which was good because they got to know them as friends as well as carers. They told us that staff met their needs and had sufficient training to enable them to carry out their job.

People and their relatives told us that they were listened to by the staff and that they felt that staff were like family and that they could speak with them.

Staff were confident about dealing with emergency situations and they had details of people and services they could contact if they needed advice, guidance or support at any time of the day or night.

Staff received training and support to carry out their job and they were provided with opportunities to develop within their roles. Staff had their competencies checked and they had access to policies and procedures in relation to safe practice.

The Care Quality Commission is required by law to monitor the operation of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA) 2005 and to report on what we find. We saw that policies and guidance were available to staff in relation to the MCA.

People had access to information about how to complain and they were confident about voicing any concerns they had. Complaints were taken seriously and dealt with in a timely way.

There were systems in place for assessing and monitoring the quality of the service. Staff carried out a range of checks on all aspects of the service. This included checks on documentation to make sure it was up to date and accurate and seeking people’s views about the service they received.

Inspection carried out on 26 September 2014

During an inspection looking at part of the service

The previous inspection report dated March 2014 demonstrated that the service was non-compliant in the area of the management of medicines. We judged this as having a minor impact on people who used the service.

During this inspection we saw that the service had made improvements in how they recorded and managed people's medicines. In addition we saw that the service had invested in training equipment and reviewed their policies to ensure that people's medicines were managed and administered as safely as possible.

Inspection carried out on 19 November 2013

During a routine inspection

We looked at care records for some of the people receiving a service from Able Support. Detailed assessments, including needs-led risk assessments, were undertaken by the agency. Individualised support plans were developed for care staff to follow and these reflected the required care and support identified from the referring organisation�s assessment. We noted that people or their representative had signed to indicate they understood and agreed with their care plan.

People were not fully protected against the risks associated with medicines because the provider did not have appropriate arrangements in place to record medicines safely.

There were sufficient numbers of staff employed by the agency to promote continuity of care and to ensure people received support when they needed it. Clear arrangements for recruiting staff were in place and appropriate checks were carried out for each new member of staff.

Arrangements were established for monitoring the safety and quality of the service, including an effective complaints procedure.

Inspection carried out on 7 September 2012

During a routine inspection

Able Support provides a Domiciliary Care Service for people who by reason of illness, infirmity or disability are unable to provide it for themselves without assistance. This support enables people who use the service to live independently in their own homes and communities. The service provides quality care whilst respecting people's dignity and respect.

During our inspection we accompanied a care worker on their visits to enable us to talk with the service users. One person told us "It's the little things they do that matter". Another person told us "The girls are very pleasant and helpful, they try to keep to their time but they are so busy".