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Inspection carried out on 25 February 2020

During a routine inspection

About the service

Ashton Way is a care home for up to three people who have autism spectrum conditions. It is a detached house in a quiet residential area. At the time of this visit there were three people using the service.

The service has been 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. People using the service receive planned and co-ordinated person-centred support that is appropriate and inclusive for them. The home was small and personalised, with no obvious signage indicating it was a care home. The feel of the service was homely and determined by people’s needs.

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

People were enabled to safely pursue their own interests by staff who understood how to minimise risks and maximise the opportunities open to people. Positive risk taking was part of the culture and ensured people were able to gain increased levels of independence.

Relatives and external health and social care professionals had confidence in the ability of staff to meet people’s needs safely and consistently.

The provider used clear systems for monitoring and analysing any incidents, accidents or safeguarding concerns.

Staff worked well with external health and social care professionals. They also had access to an internal team of occupational health and other specialists.

Staff received good support from the registered manager and the provider. Mandatory training was well managed and bespoke training put in place where needed.

People's needs were regularly assessed and staffing reviewed. Staff had a comprehensive understanding of people’s communication needs and used a range of methods to help them play a part in the running of the service.

Activities were varied and geared towards people’s interests. People’s individualities were valued and reflected in the way staff planned activities.

Relatives and external healthcare professionals felt the service was well-managed. The registered manager continually sought ways to improve the service with a view to helping people live full lives. Staff played a full part in this and were confident in their roles.

The service applied the principles and values of Registering the Right Support and other best practice guidance. These ensure that people who use the service can live as full a life as possible and achieve the best possible outcomes that include control, choice and independence.

People's support focused on them having as many opportunities as possible for them to gain new skills and live as full lives as possible.

For more details, please see the full report which is on the CQC website at www.cqc.org.uk

Rating at last inspection

The last rating for this service was good (published 20 September 2017).

Why we inspected

This was a planned inspection based on the previous rating.

Follow up

We will continue to monitor information we receive about the service until we return to visit as per our re-inspection programme. If we receive any concerning information we may inspect sooner.

Inspection carried out on 29 August 2017

During a routine inspection

Ashton Way is registered to provide accommodation and personal care to a maximum of three people who have autism spectrum disorder. Three people were using the service at the time of inspection.

At the last inspection in June 2015 we had rated the service as good. At this inspection we found the service remained good and all domains apart from the caring domain met each of the fundamental standards we inspected. We found the caring domain exceeded the fundamental standards.

Some people were unable to tell us about the service because of their complex needs. People were well cared for, relaxed and comfortable in the home. Staff knew the people they were supporting well and we observed that care was provided with patience and kindness.

People were protected as staff had received training about safeguarding and knew how to respond to any allegation of abuse. There were other opportunities for staff to receive training to meet people’s care needs. A system was in place for staff to receive supervision and appraisal and there were robust recruitment processes being used when staff were employed.

Staff were aware of the whistle blowing procedure which was in place to report concerns and poor practice. There were enough staff available to provide individual care to people. Staff had a good understanding of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and best interest decision making approaches, when people were unable to make decisions themselves.

People were involved in decisions about their care. They were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible, the policies and systems in the service supported this practice.

All of the people were encouraged to develop their independent living skills. They were supported to become as independent as possible whatever the level of need, to enable them to lead a more fulfilled life.

Staff upheld people's human rights and treated everyone with great respect and dignity. Every effort was made to help people communicate their needs and wishes, including the use of communication technology, so that care could be tailored to the individual person.

Care records were personalised, up to date and accurately reflected people’s care and support needs. The support plans included information about peoples’ likes, interests and background and provided staff with detailed information to enable them to provide effective, person centred care that promoted people’s independence.

Risk assessments were in place and they accurately identified current risks to the person as well as ways for staff to minimise or appropriately manage those risks. People had access to health care professionals to make sure they received appropriate care and treatment. Staff followed advice given by professionals to make sure people received the care they needed. People received their medicines in a safe and timely way. They received a varied diet and had food and drink to meet their needs.

People were provided with opportunities to follow their interests and hobbies and they were introduced to new activities. They were supported to contribute and to be part of the local community. Relatives and visitors were very positive about the care provided.

Staff and visitors said the manager was approachable. Communication was effective to ensure staff and relatives were kept up to date about any changes in people’s care and support needs and the running of the service. The provider continuously sought to make improvements to the service people received. The provider had effective quality assurance processes that included checks of the quality and safety of the service

Further information is in the detailed findings below,

Inspection carried out on 27 May 2015

During a routine inspection

Ashton Way care home is family house that provides accommodation and personal care for three people with autism spectrum condition. The home was formerly a children’s service, but registered as a care home for adults when the people who live there reached 18 years old.

This inspection took place on 27 May 2015. It was the first inspection of this care home since it registered as an adult service in August 2014.

The home had a registered manager who had worked there for several years. 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.

People were unable to tell us about the service because of their complex needs. Their relatives made many positive comments about the service and said people enjoyed being at the home and felt “safe” there. A staff member said, “It’s a very safe. It’s their own home and we’re here to make them feel comfortable and to help them live their lives.”

Staff were clear about how to recognise and report any suspicions of abuse. Staff told us they were confident that any concerns would be listened to and investigated to make sure people were protected. There had been no concerns at the home over the past year. Medicines were managed in the right way. There were enough staff employed to make sure people had one-to-one support when they needed it. There were few changes to staff members so people had a settled environment and staff were very familiar with people’s individual needs.

People were supported to remain safe in ways that did not compromise their rights. Staff understood the Mental Capacity Act 2005 for people who lacked capacity to make a decision and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards to make sure they were not restricted unnecessarily. Relatives confirmed they had been involved in agreements about keeping people safe and said that risks were “well managed.”

Staff were skilled, experienced and competent to support people. Relatives and care professionals were confident that the service met the needs of the people who lived there. A relative said, “The service is very effective. Ashton Way provides a specialist service with highly trained, competent staff.”

A care professional commented, “Since [my client] has moved to Ashton Way they have made really good progress. The home has played a massive part in helping them get back on track. I can’t speak highly enough of this home.”

People were supported to be as involved as possible in choosing menus and grocery shopping. People’s individual dietary needs were respected and were used to design suitable menus that met the preferences, choices and needs of each person. Relatives and care professionals told us people’s individual nutritional well-being and health had improved at this home.

Relatives and care professionals made many positive comments about the “caring” and “compassionate” attitude of staff. For example, a relative commented, “Ashton Way is a very caring service where she has always been treated with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.”

The interaction between people and staff members was friendly and relaxed. Staff were supportive and patient, so that people could communicate and make choices at their own pace. A care professional described the “good relationships” between people and staff, and a relative commented on the “genuine affection” shown by staff towards people who used the service.

Relatives told us they felt people were well cared for in the home. Care records were written in a positive way that valued the individuality of each person. People had a range of social and vocational activities they could take part in. People’s choice about whether to engage in these activities was respected.

Relatives said they were often invited to comment on the service and they felt able to give their views about the home at any time. Relatives knew how to raise concerns or complaints and were confident these would be looked into and resolved. Relatives and care professionals told us the registered manager and staff had a “collaborative” approach to involving them in the service and said any suggestions were acted upon.

Relatives, staff and care professionals felt the organisation was well run and the home was well managed. Staff told us they felt valued by their managers and the organisation. There was an open, approachable and positive culture within the home and in the organisation.