Issues being addressed at home

The entrance to Hillcrest Care Home in Alnwick.
The entrance to Hillcrest Care Home in Alnwick.

An Alnwick care home, one of the latest to be inspected under the regulator’s new regime, has received a requires improvement rating.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social-care services in England, introduced a new method of inspecting care providers last year and is in the process of re-evaluating the country’s facilities.

The new regime results in a report which gives a rating similar to those used by Ofsted for schools – outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

Hillcrest Care Home, off South Road, was inspected in September with the report published on November 23, rating it overall as requiring improvement.

This is broken down into five key areas to assess whether the provider is safe; effective; caring; responsive and well-led.

Hillcrest was rated as good in relation to being caring, inadequate in relation to safety and requiring improvement with regards to being effective, responsive and well-led.

However, a spokeswoman for the home said: “The new operator of Hillcrest immediately identified issues with the environment of the home and, as the report acknowledges, plans were already in place to address these issues.

“We are pleased to say these works are almost complete and we expect the home to be fully compliant within the timescale given by the Care Quality Commission.”

The last inspection was carried out in May 2014 when the CQC found that ‘the provider was not meeting the regulation relating to the premises’.

The report says: ‘We found shortfalls in the safety and condition of the premises. Following our inspection, the provider wrote to us and told us what action they were going to take to improve.

‘At this inspection, we found that some improvements had been made. However, not all actions which the provider had stated would be completed had been carried out’.

The inadequate safety rating was due to ‘shortfalls in the premises and equipment’ and ‘concerns with certain infection control procedures’.

However, ‘there were sufficient staff to look after people. We observed staff carry out their duties in a calm unhurried manner.

‘There were safeguarding procedures in place. Staff knew what action to take if abuse was suspected. There was one ongoing safeguarding concern’.

In terms of being caring, the home was rated as good as ‘people and relatives told us that staff were caring’, ‘staff promoted people’s privacy and dignity’ and ‘the manager had set up a steering group to ensure that people were involved in all aspects of the service’.

A number of the other concerns related to the required documentation on various aspects of care provision and training, but the new manager, in place for just three weeks when the inspection took place, was tackling these issues.

Hillcrest Care Home provides care and accommodation for up to 52 people, some of whom have dementia-related conditions.

There were 39 people living at the home on the days of the inspection and the home was not accepting any new admissions due to the refurbishment that was planned to be carried out.