5 January 2023
We carried out this inspection under Section 60 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (the Act) as part of our regulatory functions. We checked whether the provider was meeting the legal requirements and regulations associated with the Act. We looked at the overall quality of the service and provided a rating for the service under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.
As part of this inspection we looked at the infection control and prevention measures in place. This was conducted so we can understand the preparedness of the service in preventing or managing an infection outbreak, and to identify good practice we can share with other services.
Two inspectors and an Expert by Experience completed this inspection. An Expert by Experience is a person who has personal experience of using or caring for someone who uses this type of care service.
Service and service type
Darlington Court is a ‘care home’. People in care homes receive accommodation and nursing and/or personal care as a single package under one contractual agreement dependent on their registration with us. Darlington Court is a care home with nursing care. CQC regulates both the premises and the care provided, and both were looked at during this inspection.
This provider is required to have a registered manager to oversee the delivery of regulated activities at this location. A registered manager is a person who has registered with the Care Quality Commission to manage the service. Registered managers and providers are legally responsible for how the service is run, for the quality and safety of the care provided and compliance with regulations.
At the time of our inspection there was a registered manager in post.
Notice of inspection
This inspection was unannounced.
What we did before the inspection
We reviewed information we had received about the service since the last inspection. We sought feedback from the local authority and professionals who work with the service. We used the information the provider sent us in the provider information return (PIR). This is information providers are required to send us annually with key information about their service, what they do well, and improvements they plan to make. We used all this information to plan our inspection.
During the inspection
We spoke with 7 people and 5 relatives about their experience of care at Darlington Court. We spent time observing how staff interacted with people. We spoke with 10 staff including the registered manager, 2 nurses, 1 unit manager, 6 care staff. We reviewed records that included care plans, risk assessments and medicine administration records. We also looked at records relating to the management of the service, including policies and procedures, quality assurance systems and staff rotas.
5 January 2023
About the service
Darlington Court is a residential care home providing personal and nursing care to up to 61 people in purpose-built accommodation. The service provides support to older people, many of whom have dementia, and younger people with disabilities. At the time of our inspection there were 41 people using the service.
People’s experience of using this service and what we found
Improvements in systems for infection prevention and control had been sustained and there was no longer a breach of regulations.
There was inconsistent practice regarding record keeping and people’s care was not always fully documented. This meant the provider could not always be assured that people had received the care they needed. Shortfalls in record keeping had been identified through the provider’s quality monitoring systems but actions had not yet been taken to fully address the issues. We did not identify a negative impact on people’s quality of life, but this is an area of practice that needs to improve.
People were receiving a personalised service from staff who knew them well. People told us they felt safe living at Darlington House. Staff demonstrated an understanding of their responsibilities for safeguarding people and risks to people were assessed and managed appropriately.
There were enough suitable staff to provide people with the care they needed. People and their relatives spoke highly of the staff and the care they received. One person told us “They are caring and I get on with them all.” A relative told us, “The staff seem caring. They take an interest in what my relation likes. If she’s unhappy they try to understand why.”
At the time of the inspection, the location did not care or support for anyone with a learning disability or an autistic person. However, we assessed the care provision under Right Support, Right Care, Right Culture, as it is registered as a specialist service for this population group.
People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; the policies and systems in the service supported this practice.
The registered manager was well thought of by people, their relatives and the staff. One relative told us, “I would say it is well managed.” A staff member said, “It feels like a family here, the manager is very supportive.”
There was a positive culture and staff were focussed on supporting and improving people’s quality of life. People were achieving good outcomes, including improvements in their health and well -being. People, relatives and staff told us they would recommend the home. A staff member told us, “I am happy working here and I would definitely feel happy for a family member to come here. We try and provide everything we can for people to make it a good place to live.”
For more details, please see the full report which is on the CQC website at www.cqc.org.uk
Rating at last inspection and update
The last rating for this service was requires improvement (published 17 February 2021) and there was a breach of regulations. The provider completed an action plan after the last inspection to show what they would do and by when to improve safe care and treatment. At this inspection we found improvements had been made and the provider was no longer in breach of regulations.
Why we inspected
We undertook this focused inspection to check they had followed their action plan and to confirm they now met legal requirements. This report only covers our findings in relation to the Key Questions Safe and Well-led which contain those requirements.
We looked at infection prevention and control measures under the Safe key question. We look at this in all care home inspections even if no concerns or risks have been identified. This is to provide assurance that the service can respond to COVID-19 and other infection outbreaks effectively.
For those key questions not inspected, we used the ratings awarded at the last comprehensive inspection (published on 10 March 2020) to calculate the overall rating. The overall rating for the service has changed from requires Improvement to good. This is based on the findings at this inspection.
You can read the report from our last comprehensive inspection, by selecting the ‘all reports’ link for Darlington Court on our website at www.cqc.org.uk.
We will continue to monitor information we receive about the service, which will help inform when we next inspect.