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Inspection carried out on 23 May 2018

During a routine inspection

This inspection took place on 23 and 29 May 2018 and was announced. This was the first inspection since the service was registered at this location in June 2017.

This service is a domiciliary care service. It provides personal care to people living in their own houses and flats. It currently provides a service to people living with dementia, mental health issues and physical disabilities.

Not everyone using Helping Hands Durham receives regulated activity. CQC only inspects the service being received by people provided with ‘personal care’; help with tasks related to personal hygiene and eating. Where they do we also take into account any wider social care provided. At the time of our inspection 11 people were using the service, 4 of whom received personal care.

There was a registered manager in place. 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.

People and their relatives told us staff employed by the service helped them to stay safe. Risks to individuals were documented. These assessments included guidance for care staff on how to manage any risks identified and minimise the likelihood of harm.

The provider had business continuity plans in place to ensure that peoples support needs were still met in emergency situations. Infection control policies and procedures were followed to ensure the control of infection. Medicines were managed safely.

People were safeguarded from abuse and avoidable harm. Staffing levels were monitored by the registered manager to ensure sufficient staff were on duty to keep people safe. Recruitment policies minimised the risk of unsuitable staff being employed.

Staff received the training they required to help them keep people safe and were supported with regular supervision. Staff appraisals had not yet taken place due to the length of time the service had been in operation however these had been scheduled.

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.

Some people using the service received support with food and nutrition. Where this was the case people were assisted with their dietary needs and preferences. People were supported to access external professionals to monitor and promote their health. The service actively engaged with the local community, taking part in charitable activities and offering rooms for local charities to use. Information leaflets for the general public in relation to care services were available in the company’s office.

All of the people and relatives we spoke with said that the staff team were kind and caring. We observed and were told by both people and their relatives that staff treated people with respect and promoted independence. Information was available to signpost people to advocacy services. Personalised care was planned and delivered based upon people’s support needs and preferences.

A clear complaints policy and procedure was in place. Staff understood and followed people's care and support. The provider had policies in place to support people with end of life care if needed.

People, their relatives and staff informed us communication within the company was good. The staff we spoke with told us there was always someone to speak to if they needed guidance or support. Quality assurance checks were carried out by the registered manager and provider to monitor and improve standards at the service. Feedback from people, relatives and staff about the service was sought and analysed.

The registered manager promoted and monitored the provider's policies and procedures regarding the expected quality outcomes for