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Inspection carried out on 14 September 2017

During a routine inspection

This inspection of Willow House Care took place on 14 September 2017. The provider was given 48 hours’ notice. This was because the service was a small service and we needed to be sure that someone would be available so we could carry out our inspection.

Situated in Banks, a small village on the outskirts of the seaside town of Southport, Willow House Care is a new service which began providing care to people in November 2016. The service is provided by Willow House Care Limited and offers support to people with learning disabilities in a supported living setting. The home is situated over three floors and has a large kitchen diner, lounge and a garden at the rear. At the time of our inspection, three people were using the service.

At this inspection, we have given the service an overall rating of good.

People we spoke with were complimentary about the staff, the registered manager and the service in general. People's relatives told us they were happy with the care their loved ones had received. They told us; “We feel as though we’ve hit the jackpot”, “We’re very pleased with the service”, and “The service is very, very positive. I can’t fault it”.

There was a registered manager at the service. 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.

Care files showed staff had completed risk assessments to assess and monitor people’s health and safety. These assessments were completed in a manner that promoted both independence and safety for people living at Willow House Care.

Staff understood safeguarding issues, and were able to describe the course of action they would take if they felt anyone was at risk of harm or abuse; this included 'whistleblowing' to external organisations.

We found that people’s medication was stored securely and administered safely by staff that had been appropriately trained.

A number of checks were carried out around the service to ensure that the premises and equipment were safe to use.

Our observations and discussions with staff confirmed that the staffing levels were sufficient for the support which needed to be provided. The registered manager had systems and processes in place to ensure that staff who worked at the service were recruited safely.

The registered manager provided us with a staff training plan and this showed staff received training to ensure they had the skills and knowledge to support people living at Willow House Care. The majority of staff had achieved, or were working towards, an NVQ level 2 or above. Records showed that all staff training was in date.

The service had a supervision schedule in place. Staff also felt confident to raise any issues or support needs informally.

The service operated within the principles of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA). Records demonstrated that processes were in place to assess people’s capacity and make decisions in their best interests. People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and records demonstrated that staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible.

People were supported to maintain a healthy diet, and people's dietary needs and preferences were catered for. People and their relatives told us that they were involved in choosing their food and devising the weekly menu.

The service worked with external professionals to support and maintain people's health. Staff knew how to make referrals to external professionals where additional support was needed. Care plans contained evidence of the involvement of GPs and other professionals.

Staff adopted a caring approach towards people living at Willow House Care which was evident through our conversations with staff and through observations of staff inte