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Helping Hands Chelmsford Requires improvement

We are carrying out a review of quality at Helping Hands Chelmsford. We will publish a report when our review is complete. Find out more about our inspection reports.


Inspection carried out on 30 January 2019

During a routine inspection

About the service: This service is a domiciliary care agency. It provides personal care to people living in their own houses and flats and specialist housing. At the time of the inspection 82 people were using the service.

People’s experience of using this service:

People did not always receive care and support from regular staff, and some had experienced a missed or a late visit. The way the registered provider managed medicine needed to be improved. We have made a recommendation about medicine management. Risk assessments needed to be developed to ensure they covered all areas of risk. Some care plans did not always have the details of key professionals recorded. Some staff were unclear about their understanding of the mental capacity act.

People did not always receive support in a responsive way. For some, communication needed to improve. Information did not consider people’s communication needs. The provider had a complaints process in place.

The service had a registered manager in post. Staff told us the registered manager was approachable. Most people did not know who they were. Spot checks and audits were completed and surveys had been sent out to obtain people’s views.

People continued to receive care from staff who were trained to meet people’s needs. People told us 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 support this practice. Staff supported people to maintain a healthy diet, in line with their assessed needs. People were supported to access health care if this was needed.

Staff were kind and caring. People had built positive relationships with staff. People were supported and encouraged by staff to make decisions as to how their needs were met. Staff understood the importance of respecting people’s privacy dignity and independence.

More information is the detailed report below.

Rating at last inspection: This service was last rated Good. (30 May 2016)

Why we inspected: This was a planned inspection based on the previous rating.

Follow up: We will continue to monitor the service through the information we receive, and inspect the service, if risk is indicated.

Inspection carried out on 3 May 2016

During a routine inspection

Helping Hands Chelmsford provides domiciliary care to people within their own homes in Chelmsford, Billericay, Danbury and the surrounding areas. The office is based in Chelmsford; Visits to people include support with personal care, shopping, housework and social visits.

The service has a registered manager in post. 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.

The provider was given 48 hours’ notice of our visit. This was to ensure documentation and people were accessible on the day of our inspection.

People were complimentary about the service they received from Helping Hands Chelmsford. People’s needs were assessed and appropriate information was given to people before the service commenced.

Staff had good knowledge of safeguarding procedures and were clear about the actions they would take to help protect people. Where safeguarding concerns had been identified the service had made the appropriate referrals and was open and transparent. Risk assessments had been completed to help staff to support people with everyday risks and help to keep them safe.

Systems were in place to assist people with the management of their medication and to help ensure people received their medication as prescribed. Recruitment checks had been carried out before staff started work to ensure that they were suitable to work in a care setting. Staff told us that they felt well supported to carry out their work and had received regular support and training.

There were sufficient numbers of staff, with the right competencies, skills and experience available to help meet the needs of the people who used the service.

Where needed people were supported to eat and drink sufficient amounts to help meet their nutritional needs and staff knew who to speak with if they had any concerns around people’s nutrition. People were supported by staff to maintain good healthcare and were assisted to gain access to healthcare providers where possible.

People had agreed to their care and been asked how they would like this provided. People said they had been treated with dignity and respect and that staff provided their care in a kind and caring manner.

The registered manager had a good understanding of Mental Capacity Act 2005 and who to approach if they had any concerns and the appropriate government body if people were not able to make decisions for themselves.

People knew who to raise complaints or concerns to. The service had a clear complaints procedure in place and people had been provided with this information as part of the assessment process. This included information on the process and also any timespan for response. We saw that complaints had been appropriately investigated and recorded.

The service had an effective quality assurance system and had regular contact with people who used the service. People felt listened to and that their views and opinions had been sought. The quality assurance system was effective and improvements had been made as a result of learning from people’s views and opinions.