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Birch Court Care Home Requires improvement

The provider of this service changed - see old profile

Inspection Summary

Overall summary & rating

Requires improvement

Updated 18 December 2019

About the service

Birch Court Nursing and Residential Home is split into five separate single -storey houses: Brook House; Moss House; Fern House; Bank House and Waterside House, each with the capacity to accommodate 30 people who need nursing, dementia, palliative, respite or residential care. The service is provided by HC-One Oval Limited. At the time of our visit Bank House was not in use and there were 112 people living at the service.

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

People living at Birch Court and their relatives shared mixed views, but the majority were positive about the staff being caring and kind. We received mixed comments regarding staffing levels, use of agency staff and activities.

We noted several concerns regarding how staff were recording and administering medications using the current electronic system. We identified a breach of regulation regarding safe care, treatment and management of medications.

We have made a recommendation about the clarification of some job roles with regards to medication.

People living at the service and visiting relatives were unsure how many staff they could expect to see on duty each day. The registered manager advised they were recruiting and advertising posts and were also recruiting more activities organisers. We identified a breach of regulations relating to staffing.

Quality assurance processes were regularly carried out to show actions and improvements to the service in the last 10 months. However, concerns regarding the management of medications and of the deployment of safe staffing needs further review by the provider.

The home was clean and staff used appropriate techniques to prevent the spread of infection. Two corridors had an unpleasant smell and staff took action to improve these areas.

People told us they enjoyed the food and drink provided. We observed mealtimes and saw that people had a choice of meals. Mealtimes were noisy at times with staff busy in various departments. Staff could be heard

carrying out their work, while dining room and small galley kitchen doors were left open.

We have made a recommendation regarding the environment and activities.

We saw that people were supported with various activities including occasional trips out, visiting entertainers and the forming of a Birch Court choir. Whilst some people enjoyed the activities others felt they didn't see much going on as they didn't have an activities organiser on their unit.

Care plans and risk assessments were in place and generally contained the correct level of information in relation to the support people needed. Some areas of recording needed updating for one plan.

People could express their views in a variety of ways. Regular meetings were held, annual surveys were carried out and there was a complaints procedure in place. We saw that complaints had been recorded and responded to in line with this policy. We received four complaints from residents and relatives which we passed to the registered manager to review in line with their complaints policy. Some concerns were around the use of agency staff.

Staff and visitors noted improvements to the service since the registered manager commenced in post.

People were supported to have maximum 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 this practice.

Staff had received training and were knowledgeable about how to protect people from abuse. Staff felt supported and listened to. Staff received the training, support and supervision they needed to carry out the roles they were asked to do.

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

Rating at last inspection

The last rating for this service was ‘good’ (published 6 April 2017.)

Why we inspected

This was a planned inspection based on the previous rating.


We have i

Inspection areas


Requires improvement

Updated 18 December 2019

The service was not always safe.

Details are in our 'Safe' findings below.


Requires improvement

Updated 18 December 2019

The service was not always effective.

Details are in our Effective findings below.



Updated 18 December 2019

The service was caring.

Details are in our Caring findings below.



Updated 18 December 2019

The service was responsive.

Details are in our responsive findings below.


Requires improvement

Updated 18 December 2019

The service was not always well-led.

Details are in our 'well-led' findings below.