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Careline Homecare Darlington Good


Inspection carried out on 26 November 2020

During an inspection looking at part of the service

About the service

Careline Homecare Darlington is a domiciliary care agency which provides care and support to people living in their own homes. At the time of our inspection there were 162 people using the service.

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

People expressed confidence in the care they received, and in the abilities, attitude and competency of their care staff. However, nearly every respondent noted, over the last few months, the timekeeping and punctuality of the carers had deteriorated significantly. Many noted this was in contrast with their earlier experiences of the service when they had found it to be very reliable.

The registered manager discussed how the pressures of the second wave of the pandemic had significantly impacted staff and the service performance. Following the inspection, the registered manager wrote to all the people and relatives to apologise for the reduction in service and explain the circumstances.

A large proportion of the staff discussed the pressures they had faced in recent months because of volumes of additional calls being added to their rota. Staff reported they were finding at times they could not get breaks during sometimes 14-hour shifts. The registered manager outlined how pressures on the service had increased over the last few months, as there had been increased levels of sickness and the need for staff to self-isolate. Work was being undertaken to recruit additional staff and review rotas.

We found co-ordinators and supervisors had systems in place to schedule calls and monitor attendance at calls. Two care coordinators covered different areas in Darlington, and they had their own staff team. Staff discussed how they did not get travel time and this had impacted service delivery. People were not always made aware of changes to the times that staff would be visiting. The registered manager confirmed they would ensure rotas were reviewed and travel time would be introduced.

Every staff member was committed to assisting people to have a good quality of life and all available staff had pulled together to cover all the care packages.

Medicines were administered in a safe manner. Systems were in place, which monitored how the service operated and ensured staff delivered appropriate care and treatment.

Staff took steps to safeguard people and promote their human rights. Incidents were dealt with appropriately and lessons were learnt, which helped to keep people safe. When necessary, external professionals were involved in individual people’s care.

Appropriate checks were completed prior to staff being employed to work at the service.

The senior management team completed comprehensive audits of the service and constantly looked for areas for improvement.

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

Rating at last inspection

The last rating for this service was good (report published 30 March 2018).

Why we inspected

This was a planned inspection and completed in line with our current programme. This report only covers our findings in relation to the Key Questions Safe, Responsive and Well-led.

The ratings from the previous comprehensive inspection for those key questions not looked at on this occasion were used in calculating the overall rating at this inspection. The overall rating for the service has improved to good. This is based on the findings at this inspection.

You can read the report from our last comprehensive inspection, by selecting the ‘all reports’ link for Careline Homecare Darlington on our website at

Follow up

We will return to visit as per our re-inspection programme. If we receive any concerning information we may inspect sooner.

Inspection carried out on 14 February 2018

During a routine inspection

This was an announced inspection. We visited the provider's offices on 23 February 2018 and made calls to people using the service and staff and from 14 February 2018. The provider was given notice of the inspection because they provide community services and we needed to be sure that someone would be in.

This was the first inspection of the service since their registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). .

Careline Homecare Darlington is a domiciliary care agency which is registered to provide personal care. The service provides support to people with varying disabilities (aged 18 and above), who live in their own home. The service operates 24 hours per day, seven days per week. The care packages are set up following an assessment of people's needs and support can be provided throughout the day and night. At the time of our inspection there were over 190 people receiving support from Careline Homecare Darlington, of whom 142 people received personal care services.

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.

There were robust staff recruitment and assessment processes in place.

People who used the service told us that there were enough staff available to support them and on the whole staff turned up on time. People were provided with continuity of care because a core group of staff were allocated to work with the same people. People knew their staff team well and spoke positively about them.

The co-ordinator and supervisors were skilled and experienced. They were well supported in carrying out their roles. In turn, they monitored the care packages and provided support and advice to the carers.

Staff were familiar with the safeguarding protocols in place to help keep people safe. They told us that they had received training in this matter and discussed the process with us, giving examples to back up their knowledge.

We checked whether the service was working within the principles of the Mental Capacity Act. People were supported to have 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.

The people using the services of this provider were encouraged and supported to make choices about their care, support and lifestyle. Where people were not able to make decisions about aspects of their life, the service worked with other professionals. This helped to ensure decisions were made appropriately and in the best interests of the person concerned.

People had individualised care plans and risk assessments in place. These helped to make sure people received the support they expected and needed, in a safe way. Medicines were managed safely with administration records well maintained.

People who used the services told us that staff were kind and helpful and that they respected their privacy and dignity.

There were policies and procedures in place to help ensure the service operated effectively. Staff were supported and supervised in their work. Supervision of staff helps to make sure that they work safely and follow the policies and principles of the service.

There was a complaints process in place at the service. Records were kept about complaints and these included the details of actions taken, outcomes and learning points. The provider shares all information about lessons learnt with every branch so all can make improvements to their systems.

The provider had processes in place for monitoring the quality of the service. There were systems in place to support people using the services to give their opinions about the standard and quality of the service they received.