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Seaham View, County Durham

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Seaham View had been previously inspected by us on 1 October 2014 and was rated as ‘Inadequate’. During the inspection inspectors noted that some members of staff raised concerns about their ability to effectively care for people. They alluded to poor training methods.


At the inspection we saw people were not well cared for and serious concerns regarding the safety of people using the service were identified. We saw first-hand the inability of staff to manage people’s complex needs; people were not engaged in meaningful activities, the environment did not meet people’s needs and staff demonstrated limited knowledge of caring for people with autism.

When CQC re-inspected

Improvements were noted at this inspection in February 2015. There were sufficient numbers of staff on duty in order to meet the needs of people using the service. The provider had an effective recruitment and selection procedure in place and carried out relevant checks when they employed staff.

Thorough investigations had been carried out in response to safeguarding incidents or allegations and a medication audit had been carried out by the acting manager.

Staff training had been planned and most staff had been trained in autism awareness and positive behavior support. We saw training was planned and monitored to ensure all staff had the relevant training to carry out their role. Staff were able to tell us about the knowledge they had gained from autism specific training and how it had improved their work and relationships with people they supported.

The home was clean, spacious and suitable for the people who used the service. People’s bedrooms had been made more personal with support from key workers. Staff treated people with dignity and respect and helped to maintain people’s independence by encouraging them to care for themselves where possible.

We saw that the home had a programme of activities in place for people who used the service. We saw people accessing the community with the support from staff. One person showed us items they had purchased from the local shops which they were very pleased with and another person had been out swimming.

Care records showed that people’s needs were assessed before they moved into Seaham View and care plans were written in a person-centred way. Staff told us that daily diaries and care plans had improved tremendously in the last few months and they were making improvements all the time to ensure activities were planned, meaningful and resourced appropriately.

Quote from residents/relatives:

People who used the service, and their family members, told us the home was well-led. They told us, “It’s a nice normal atmosphere. They will phone me at any time” and “They keep me well informed. I feel like they are part of the family”.

Quote from inspection manager/CQC:

“Staff we observed interacted with people who used the service in a way that showed a mutual respect and an understanding of the person and their needs.”

Staff members we spoke with could explain what safeguarding was and told us, “It’s about protecting people against any form of abuse.”

Comment from Mark Holmes (inspector who took over the inspection of Seaham View after its inadequate rating and was involved in witnessing the turnaround):

“Following the inadequate rating in October 2014, we worked closely with the provider. We listened to each other and all communications and discussions were conducted in a respectful and dignified manner. Discussions were open and honest and we were kept well informed, which contributed to the positive outcome at the follow-up inspection. We received weekly updates on their action plan and the learning from this was transferred to the provider’s other locations, so they did not just focus on Seaham View but learned from the experience to drive improvement in all other services. We also liaised closely with stakeholders and health and social care professionals, who provided valuable information that was used to inform the follow-up inspection.”

The Inspection Manager for this service, Jean Pegg, added the following:

“From the point of telling the provider that we had serious concerns about this service a strong working relationship started to develop. The provider was proactive in keeping me up-to-date with actions they were planning to take. They were happy to attend meetings with CQC to discuss progress and keep us informed with developments. The manner in which those meetings and exchanges took place was in a most friendly and professional manner, even though some difficult conversations and exchanges were made.”

It was about solving a problem with a shared outcome in sight. We listened and respected each other with the service user being at the heart of discussions in relation to how and what improvements were needed.”

Swanton Care and Community, the provider for this home, said:

“We are immensely proud of the high quality care and support we offer to our service users at Seaham View.

“The systems and practices we have put in place are individually designed to foster the greatest level of independence achievable for people living with autism and learning disabilities.

"Under previous leadership some shortcomings were highlighted at Seaham View but at no time were the people in our care put at risk and there was no question the service was unsafe.

“Since October 2014, the date of the first inspection of Seaham View, there has been a complete change of senior management at Swanton and the establishment of the new Service Philosophy based on kindness, caring, safety, empowerment, and respect; people are absolutely at the heart of everything we do.

“The team at Seaham View are dedicated to continually improving the services they provide to ensure that we are always on the pathway to becoming one of our CQC-rated Outstanding facilities.

“Seaham View is now an exemplar of excellent autism/learning disability support and we look forward to working with CQC in the coming years to ensure we share our best practice for the benefit of all providers."

Last updated:
29 May 2017


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