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We are carrying out a review of quality at Whitstone House. We will publish a report when our review is complete. Find out more about our inspection reports.
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Inspection report

Date of Inspection: 12 August 2014
Date of Publication: 4 September 2014
Inspection Report published 04 September 2014 PDF | 89.06 KB

Overview

Inspection carried out on 12 August 2014

During a routine inspection

One adult social care inspector inspected Whitstone House. At the time of the inspection there were 10 people using the service.

We spoke with three people who used the service, one person’s relative, the assistant manager and three support workers. The registered manager was not available to speak with us. We reviewed the care records for three people. We also reviewed a selection of other records. These included staffing rotas, minutes from meetings and audit results.

We used the evidence we collected during our inspection to answer five questions.

Is the service safe?

The Care Quality Commission is required by law to monitor the operation of the Mental Capacity Act (MCA), 2005, and the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and to report on what we find. The MCA provides a framework to empower and protect people who may make key decisions about their care and support. The DoLS are used if extra restrictions or restraints are needed which may deprive a person of their liberty.

At the time of our inspection no person was subject to a DoLS authorisation. The assistant manager told us that they and the registered manager were currently applying for DoLS authorisations for all of the people who used the service. This was in relation to preventing people from leaving the service unaccompanied. The assistant manager told us that they had assessed people as lacking mental capacity and that the safeguard would help to protect people’s safety and welfare.

We saw evidence that there were enough suitably skilled, qualified and experienced staff on duty at all times. This included staff to provide one to one and two to one care for people.

There was a safeguarding policy and procedure in place and this was in date. All of the staff, including the bank and agency staff used, had received training in relation to safeguarding vulnerable adults. The provider undertook the necessary checks to ensure that employees were of good character before employing them.

We saw evidence that the provider’s audit schedule was effective. This included regular auditing of the quality of the service, as well as accidents and incidents and environmental risks.

Is the service effective?

The care and support that people received met their needs. All of the staff demonstrated a good understanding of the needs of people living with autism. We saw evidence that staff had received specialist training in relation to their roles and responsibilities.

Plans of care and risk assessments were regularly updated in order to reflect any changes in people’s needs. We saw evidence that staff helped people to achieve their goals and aspirations. Effective communication techniques were used and all information was presented in an easy read format to help people understand what had been written.

The provider had effective working arrangements with other health and social care professionals. This included psychologists and speech and language therapists. This helped to ensure that people’s care needs were being met.

Is the service caring?

All of the people told us that they were happy with the care and support that they received. One person said, “I am happy. I have been playing table tennis and the staff are nice.” Another person said, “I have been to the day centre and enjoyed myself. My key worker is good.”

We spoke with a relative of one person and they said, “The staff are very good with my (relative). They look after their priorities and needs. I cannot think of a better place for my (relative) to be in. They are so happy here. The service is wonderful and all of my (relative’s) needs are met.”

People received person-centred care. This meant that their care was individualised to their specific needs. It was evident that staff thoroughly understood the needs of the people that they were caring for, and treated people with compassion and respect. We observed staff interacting with people in a positive way. Different communication techniques were used to help ensure that the person understood what the staff member was saying. At all times, staff were courteous and caring towards the people they supported.

Is the service responsive?

The environment at Whitstone House was arranged to help meet the needs of the people who used the service. This included different areas where people could choose to spend their time. We noted that there were secure gardens, a swimming pool and numerous communal areas. One of the communal areas had been adapted for a person who wished to spend time alone.

It was evident that the care and support people received met their individual needs. People’s care plans included all aspects of the person’s daily living and there were support plans in place for staff to follow to help ensure that they responded to people’s needs in an effective way. People’s likes, dislikes and preferences were taken into consideration on all accounts. We noted that the activities people undertook reflected their hobbies and interests.

Each person who used the service had stated what their goals were. We found that their care and support was structured in a way that facilitated people to achieve their goals. The staff promoted people’s independence whilst ensuring that their safety and welfare was maintained.

The provider had a complaints policy and procedure and we saw evidence that they took account of complaints and comments to improve the service.

Is the service well-led?

All of the staff we spoke with spoke positively about the management team at Whitstone House. Staff told us that they felt well supported and were able to access specialist training. Each person told us that they were encouraged to raise any concerns or comments that they had. They told us that the management team always listened to what they had to say and responded to their comments appropriately.

Staff told us that the staff meetings held by the manager were meaningful and productive. All of the staff we spoke with felt valued and part of the team.

We noted that there was a positive culture within the service. The staff told us that the management team regularly worked alongside them while they carried out their duties in order to support them.

The service had effective quality assurance systems in place to assess and monitor the quality of the service that people received. This included monthly audits of all aspects of the service as well as regular meetings with the people who used the service. Included in these were appropriate action plans to address any shortfalls in the quality of the service provision.