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Independent Living Alternatives Good

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating


Updated 13 July 2018

This announced inspection was carried out on 4 and 5 April 2018. Independent Living Alternatives is registered as a domiciliary care agency and is registered to provide personal care for people in their own homes. The agency provides staff (personal assistants and volunteers) to people who have a physical disability.

At the time of this inspection Independent Living Alternatives employed 71 personal assistants and 8 volunteers who were providing support to 32 people in their own homes. The volunteers provided support in exchange for accommodation. In addition, Independent Living Alternatives facilitates the recruitment of personal assistants for people who employed their own personal assistants.

People using the services of this agency managed their own personal assistants and their own care. The ability to manage this was a prerequisite for using this agency. This inspection report covers all the services provided by Independent Living Alternatives.

We previously inspected the service on 12 December 2016. There had been a breach of regulation as the service was not following safe practices in recruiting staff. At this inspection we found the agency had improved their recruitment practice and staff were recruited safely to minimise the risk of unsuitable people being employed. A second breach of regulation at the previous inspection was due to the registered manager not notifying CQC of incidents which is a legal requirement. The registered manager told us they were now fully aware of what they needed to report to CQC. At this inspection we found all regulations were being met.

A registered manager was in post at the time of this inspection. 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.

Independent Living Alternatives is different to other domiciliary care agencies. The people using the service choose their own personal assistants from those recruited by the agency and people manage their own care including the training of their personal assistants.

Each person using the service had a risk assessment in order to keep them safe while respecting their right to take risks. Some people had a written care plan called a personal profile and others did not as they preferred to train and direct their personal assistants without a written plan. Each person had an annual review with the registered manger to seek their views of the service and see if their needs were being met.

Each person had between one and six personal assistants in their care team. The agency was able to supply extra staff in an emergency as they employed casual workers to cover sickness and holidays of personal assistants.

People were responsible for their own medicines management and they trained their personal assistants to help them with medicines and to use mobility and medical equipment.

Staff felt they had enough training and support to carry out their roles.

The service tried to match people to personal assistants who would relate to and respect their individual lifestyle. People told us they were happy with the service provided.

We saw concerns and complaints were dealt with appropriately by the provider.

There was a management committee made up of people using the service and the registered manager reported on how the service was running to the management committee. This was an effective way of monitoring the quality of the service and addressing any improvements needed.

We have made one recommendation regarding training in safe moving and handling.

Inspection areas



Updated 13 July 2018

The service was safe. Staff were safely recruited. There were enough staff employed to meet people's needs. Staff understood safeguarding procedures and how to recognise signs of abuse.

Risk assessments were in place for all people using the service. People felt safe but two people mentioned that new personal assistants did not always remember to put the brakes on their wheelchair.

People were supported with their medicines.



Updated 13 July 2018

The service was effective. Staff received training and annual appraisals. Staff understood the role of being a personal assistant and had specific training on how to work in this role as supposed to a traditional care worker.

Staff supported people with food preparation and with their health needs where this was needed.



Updated 13 July 2018

The service was caring. People using the service directed their own care. People told us staff were caring, supported them to be as independent as possible and treated them with dignity and respect.



Updated 13 July 2018

The service was responsive. People wrote their own personal profiles detailing their support needs and wishes. They were able to interview personal assistants to decide if the personal assistant would be able to meet their individual needs.

People knew how to make a complaint and told us the registered manager was responsive to addressing any issues raised..



Updated 13 July 2018

The service was well-led. The registered manager was accountable to a management committee and as a team they made continuous improvements to the service. People felt fully involved in the service and staff felt well supported.