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Inspection carried out on 2 October 2018

During a routine inspection

Helping Hands Dulwich is a domiciliary care agency. This service provides personal care to people living in their own houses and flats. It provides a service to older adults, some of whom are living with dementia and have physical disabilities. At the time of inspection 13 adults were receiving support from this service.

Some people supported by Helping Hands Dulwich did not receive a regulated activity from the service. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) only inspects the service being received by people provided with ‘personal care’, which includes help with tasks related to personal hygiene and eating. Where they do we also consider any wider social care provided.

This inspection took place on 2 and 3 October 2018 and was announced. 48 hours before the inspection we contacted the service to let them know that we will be coming to inspect them. We wanted to make sure that the management team would be available on the day of inspection.

This service has not previously been inspected.

The service had a branch manager in post who was in the process of registering with the Care Quality Commission (CQC). A registered manager is a person who has registered with the CQC 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’s risk management plans had details on the support people required to stay safe but lacked information on the specific risks to people and how the identified risks affected people’s well-being should they occurred. We have made a recommendation about this.

Some people felt that communication with the management team was not always affective as sometimes they were not notified if staff were running late. The service had a new manager in place who was looking to make improvements as required. Data about people and the staff team was kept in one place which helped the management team to access information quickly as necessary. There were quality assurance processes in place to monitor the services being delivered for people. Staff felt supported by the management team when they approached them for guidance and assistance.

People told us they were supported by regular staff who knew their care and support needs well.

The service planned to start using a new electronic system for monitoring staff visiting times and to improve their communication with people if staff were running late.

Staff had knowledge and skills to support people from potential harm and abuse. People received their medicines in line with their prescriptions. Staff were required to carry out pre-employment checks to ensure they were fit for the role. Staff used protective clothing to minimise the risk of infection. The management team had monitored the incidents and accidents occurring and took action to protect people as necessary.

Staff were supported to gain the necessary skills and knowledge required for their role. Staff assisted people to prepare their meals and attend to their complex health needs if people required support with this. Staff were trained to assist people in the decision-making process based on the principles of the Mental Capacity Act (2005).

People felt confident in the staff that supported them and described staff as kind and attentive to their well-being. Staff were aware of people’s preferences and enabled them to make choices about their daily living. Staff encouraged people to take responsibility for the activities they could carry out themselves. People felt their dignity was respected which helped them to feel valued.

Staff responded to people’s changing care needs quickly as required. People were supported to raise concerns and complaints should they had any. People had regular reviews and felt confident to approach the management team for making changes to their care plans as necessary.