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Archived: Firtree House Good

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating


Updated 2 September 2017

The inspection took place on 25 July 2017. The inspection was unannounced. This meant the staff and provider did not know we would be visiting.

Fir Tree House is a residential care home based in Darlington. The home provides personal care for people with learning disabilities or people living with a mental health illness. It is situated close to the local amenities and transport links to the town centre. The service is registered to provide support to eight people and on the day of our inspection there were seven people using the service.

The service had a registered manager in place. A registered manager is a person who has registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) 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.

We last inspected the service in May 2014 and rated the service as ‘Good.’ At this inspection we found the service remained ‘Good’ and met all the fundamental standards we inspected against.

People who used the service were relaxed in their home environment and the service had a homely atmosphere.

Staff were comfortable, relaxed and had an extremely positive rapport with the manager and also with each other.

We saw staff interacting with people in a person centred and caring way. Person centred is when the person is central to their support and their preferences respected.

We spent time observing the support that took place in the service. We saw that people were always respected by staff and treated with kindness.

We saw staff offering people choices, being considerate and communicating with people well.

People were supported to set and achieve goals for themselves.

We saw that people were encouraged to enhance their wellbeing on a daily basis by taking part in activities at home and in the community that encouraged and maximised their independence.

People were supported to maintain their independence as much as possible.

We spoke with care staff and relatives who told us they were supported and that the manager was approachable.

Care plans contained risk assessments. These identified risks and described the measures and interventions to be taken to ensure people were protected from the risk of harm.

People’s health was monitored and referrals were made to other health care professionals where necessary, for example: their GP or speech and language therapy team.

People who used the service were supported by sufficient numbers of staff to meet their individual needs and wishes.

When we looked at the staff training records, they showed us staff were supported and able to maintain and develop their skills through training and development opportunities were available.

We viewed records that showed us there were robust recruitment processes in place.

Medicines were managed, stored and administered safely.

People were actively encouraged to participate in activities that were personalised and meaningful to them.

We saw staff spending their time positively engaging with people as a group and on a one to one basis. We saw evidence that people were supported to go out regularly too.

People were encouraged to eat and drink sufficient amounts to meet their needs. The daily menu that we saw was reflective of people’s likes and dislikes and offered varied choices and it was not an issue if people wanted something different.

The provider had an effective complaints procedure in place and people who used the service and family members were aware of how to make a complaint.

People had their rights respected and access to advocacy services if needed.

People were supported to play an active role within their local community and were on first name terms at the local cafes in the town centre.

The provider had an effective quality assurance process in place and staff told us they enjoyed thei

Inspection areas



Updated 2 September 2017

This service remains safe.



Updated 2 September 2017

This service remains effective.



Updated 2 September 2017

This service remains caring.



Updated 2 September 2017

This service remains responsive.



Updated 2 September 2017

This service remains well led.