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Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating


Updated 10 May 2017

This inspection took place on 21 and 22 March 2017 and was announced.

The previous inspection was carried out on 29 October 2015 and was rated as requires improvement. Recommendations were made that care plans and risk assessments should be reviewed on a regular basis and that the registered provider should seek advice and guidance on a suitable audit system. An action plan was received which showed that improvements would be made. At this inspection we saw that relevant improvements had been made.

Deafness Support Network (DSN) provides personal care and support to people who are D/deaf. The support is carried out in their own homes. The agency provides support for up to twenty-four adults who are D/deaf and may have dual sensory impairment; learning disability; physical disability or mental health problems. The office is situated in the suburbs of Northwich, near to all the town's amenities and within easy access to main road networks. People live within one of four houses which are situated near to the office. At the time of our inspection there were 23 people using the service.

The word Deaf (with a capital D) is used to denote an individual whose first language is British Sign Language (BSL), whilst the term D/deaf is widely recognised by service professionals and refers to everyone with a hearing loss which includes Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing. D/deaf will be used throughout this report.

There was a registered manager employed to work at the service. They had been registered with the Care Quality Commission for six 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.

At the previous inspection on 29 October 2015 we made two recommendations: that the registered manager ensured that care plans and risk assessment documentation should be reviewed to ensure they are kept up to date and accurate; and that the service sought advice and guidance from a reputable source about a suitable audit system for the service. We saw that improvements had been made and that care plans and risk assessments were clear and up to date and a new audit system was in place.

People told us they were happy with the service provided and that the staff were caring, kind and friendly. People said “The staff are good”, “I have no complaints” and “Staff are kind.”

Staff told us they enjoyed working at the service and providing support to people. They said they were supported by the team leaders and registered manager.

Care plans were person centred, well documented and up to date. They gave clear guidance to the staff team. Risk assessments were undertaken for a variety of tasks and these were reviewed regularly and up to date. The management of medication was safe.

Staff were aware of how to report a safeguarding concern. They were aware of the policies and procedures available to safeguard people from harm and told us they would not hesitate to report any concerns.

Staff had a good understanding of their responsibilities in relation to the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). Care records demonstrated people's involvement in decision making. Mental capacity assessments were completed and best interest meetings took place when needed.

Staff had received a range of training that included moving and handling, safeguarding, medication and health, safety and fire. All staff had either to use British Sign Language as their first language or have attained BSL level 2 within two years of employment. A range of other training was available to the staff team. Staff told us that the training was good. Staff had access to supervision sessions, annual appraisals and were invited to attend regular staff meetings.

Staff recruitment files showed that robust rec

Inspection areas



Updated 10 May 2017

The service was safe.

Safeguarding policies and procedures were in place and staff were trained and knew how to make an appropriate referral.

Medication was managed safely.

Recruitment procedures and processes were robust and information was well presented and stored safely. Checks were in place to make sure that unsafe practice was identified and appropriately addressed.



Updated 10 May 2017

The service was effective.

Staff had a good knowledge of people’s needs, preferences and wishes.

Staff had access to a wide range of training and undertook supervision sessions and annual appraisals. Staff induction was undertaken at the beginning of their employment with the service.

People 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.

People were supported with the purchasing of food and meal preparation where detailed in their care plan and were supported with their healthcare needs when needed.



Updated 10 May 2017

The service was caring.

Staff approach to people was kind, caring and friendly. People were involved in all decision making and aspects of their lives.

A range of information about the service was available to people in written, pictorial and BSL format. Advocacy was available and used when required.



Updated 10 May 2017

The service was responsive.

Care plans were person centred and gave very good details of people’s support needs, preferences and wishes. These were well documented and up to date.

Each person had an activity plan which showed their preferred activities throughout the week.

People knew how to make a compliant and told us they would speak to the team leader or registered manager. No one had any complaints.



Updated 10 May 2017

The service was well led.

A registered manager was in place and had worked at the service for 15 years.

People and staff commented on the culture within the service being open and transparent.

A range of audits were undertaken and these along with other information gathered were used to monitor and improve the service.