A Leighton Buzzard care home given a “requires improvement” rating in all areas by the Care Quality Commission has now been judged to be “good”.
Back in 2016, inspectors had concluded that low staffing levels meant residents were not always safe. They also found some areas of the home and furniture were dirty and “this exposed people to the risk of acquired infections”.
The 2016 report also found staff did not always engage enough with residents, who did not have a choice of options on their menus. Some residents also felt unable to participate in their preferred hobbies.
At the time Julia Ogley, Central Bedfordshire Council’s head of social care and housing, described the outcome as “disappointing” and “not the standard that we expect to be delivered”.
But fast forward 12 months and following an unannounced follow-up visit has seen inspectors conclude that the standard has risen following an action plan that was put in place.
In the report just published, Westlands received an overall “good” rating and was judged “good” for being safe, effective, caring and responsive? Under leadership it was deemed to “require improvement”.
The inspectors said: “There was not strong leadership in the service and we found that people were unsure who the registered manager was. Quality monitoring systems were however in place. A variety of audits were carried out and used to drive improvement.
“People using the service felt safe. Staff had received training to enable them to recognise signs and symptoms of abuse and felt confident in how to report them.
“People had risk assessments in place to enable them to be as independent as they could be in a safe manner. Staff knew how to manage risks to promote people’s safety, and balanced these against people’s rights to take risks and remain independent.
“There were sufficient staff, with the correct skill mix, on duty to support people with their needs. Effective recruitment processes were in place and followed by the service.
“Staff were not offered employment until satisfactory checks had been completed. Medicines were managed safely. The processes in place ensured that the administration and handling of medicines was suitable for the people who used the service.”
The report added: “The service was clean and there were no malodours. Cleaning products were locked away.
“Staff received an induction process and on-going training. They had attended a variety of training to ensure they were able to provide care based on current practice when supporting people. They were supported with regular supervisions.
“People were supported to make decisions about all aspects of their life; this was underpinned by the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Staff were knowledgeable of this guidance and correct processes were in place to protect people. Staff gained consent before supporting people. People were able to make choices about the food and drink they had, and staff gave support when required to enable people to access a balanced diet. There was access to drinks and snacks throughout the day.
“People were supported to access a variety of health professional when required, including opticians and doctors, to make sure they received continuing healthcare to meet their needs.
“Staff provided care and support in a caring and meaningful way. They knew the people who used the service well. People and relatives, where appropriate, were involved in the planning of their care and support. People’s privacy and dignity was maintained at all times.
“People were supported to follow their interests and join in activities if they chose to. People knew how to complain. There was a complaints procedure was in place and accessible to all. Complaint had been responded to appropriately.”
The inspectors noted that since the last visit there had been a refurbishment programme. Main corridors and lounges had been re-carpeted and repainted. Furniture had been replaced. Some bedrooms had also been redecorated.
Central Beds Council is looking to develop a new care home at the police station site in Hockliffe Road and has previously said this could replace Westlands, which does not have the accommodation and facilities that are most appropriate for older people needing this type of care.