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Poplars Requires improvement

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating

Requires improvement

Updated 30 November 2019

Poplars is a residential care home providing personal care and accommodation for up to 6 people diagnosed with a learning disability and mental health conditions. At the time of the inspection there were two people using the service.

The service had not been fully developed and designed in line with the principles and values that underpin Registering the Right Support and other best practice guidance. This ensures that people who use the service can live as full a life as possible and achieve the best possible outcomes. The principles reflect the need for people with learning disabilities and/or autism to live meaningful lives that include control, choice, and independence. Further work was needed to ensure people's independence was promoted in daily living skills and explore opportunities to develop their community involvement. Further work was also needed to explore the use of communication aids and information technology to support people to express their views about how their care and treatment was delivered.

Accommodation is provided within a domestic, bungalow located in a residential area close to the town centre of Braintree. There were deliberately no identifying signs or anything else outside to indicate it was a care home.

People’s experience of using this service and what we found

The service did not have effective measures in place to ensure the environment people lived in was safe, their medicines managed safely, with incidents and accidents monitored with plans to reduce the risk of reoccurrence. Some risks to people’s safety had not been identified or addressed.

The registered manager was committed to improving the service, but their focus had been on improving the environment without due care and attention to identifying and managing the potential risks to people’s safety. They recognised further work needed to ensure quality and safety monitoring of the service was carried out and did not identify all the shortfalls we found during this inspection.

The registered manager was in the process of recruiting a manager to manage the service on a day to day basis with the skills and capacity needed to provide more effective oversight.

Further work was needed to ensure care plans were up to date and fully reflective of people’s current needs. The registered manager was in the process of implementing a new system of care planning to address this shortfall.

People's capacity in relation to day to day decisions had been assessed. People were supported to have some choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests. Policies and systems in the service supported support this practice.

Staff had received a variety of training to fulfil the roles for which they were employed. There was a consistent use of agency staff. However, there was a lack of systems in place to reassure the registered manager that identification and criminal records checks had been completed by the supplying agency. There was also work needed to ensure agency staff had completed induction training to ensure they had the knowledge and skills to meet people’s needs.

The service worked with other organisations and people were supported to access a range of healthcare services. People were assessed for their risks of malnutrition and dehydration. Staff referred people to their GP and dietitian where risks of losing weight had been identified.

People had not been involved in the planning of menus and their independence promoted in the preparation of food. We have made a recommendation that consideration be given to explore best practice guidance in the use of communication aids to enable people to be involved in the planning of what they eat and drink.

The registered manager had a system for recording and managing complaints but had not received any since the last inspection.

For more details, please see the full report which is on the CQC website at

Inspection areas


Requires improvement

Updated 30 November 2019

The service was not always safe.

Details are in our safe findings below.


Requires improvement

Updated 30 November 2019

The service was not always effective.

Details are in our effective findings below.


Requires improvement

Updated 30 November 2019

The service was not always caring.

Details are in our caring findings below.


Requires improvement

Updated 30 November 2019

The service was not always responsive.

Details are in our responsive findings below.


Requires improvement

Updated 30 November 2019

The service was not always well-led.

Details are in our well-Led findings below.