Outstanding rating for care service for older and vulnerable people

A council service that helps older and vulnerable people in Poole to live independently at home has been rated ‘outstanding’ by the national care watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) described Borough of Poole’s START service as ‘a model for compassionate care’. CQC inspectors said the service was ‘outstanding in their care for people’ with ‘motivated, innovative and skilled’ staff. People using the service were ‘extremely positive about the care they received’.

START (Short Term Assessment, Reablement and Telecare) provides practical and emotional support to people affected by frailty, disability or illness. The service encourages people to develop the confidence and skills to carry out daily living activities and continue to live at home, especially after an admission to hospital. 

In their inspection report, the CQC said there was a ‘strong emphasis on people pursuing full, active lives in their own communities’. Inspectors highlighted several examples where staff had gone ‘above and beyond’ to support people using the service, including one staff member who arranged a visit on Christmas Day to check a person was ok and managing to eat a meal.

Inspectors said the START team has worked closely with other health and social care professionals to drive service improvements. They said the service was part of different initiatives aimed at preventing people from being admitted to hospital or support people to be discharged safely or more swiftly. 

Cllr Karen Rampton, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Health and Social Care, Borough of Poole, said: “Our adult social care services provide help and support to some of the most vulnerable members of our community, so it is wonderful to see their hard work and commitment recognised by such a well-respected body. Just 1% of care providers receive an outstanding rating from the CQC, which makes this achievement all the more impressive as outstanding ratings are given to such a small percentage of people. We are tremendously proud of the START team and the fantastic work they do.” 

Deborah Ivanova, Deputy Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care (South), Care Quality Commission, said: “We were really impressed by the outstanding level of care and support people living in their own homes received from the Short Term Assessment, Reablement and Telecare team.

“We were delighted to see care that was highly responsive and person-centred where people’s lives and well-being were enriched by passionate and caring staff who encouraged and supported people to remain independent. People benefited from an organised service with excellent leadership. The service had a clear vision for providing high quality care where people were at the heart of the service, and this was clearly demonstrated through every aspect of the care provided.

“This service was a model for compassionate care. People were fully involved in their care and support from the commencement of the service to their final review. People developed meaningful and positive relationships with staff who knew their individual needs.

“The team should be extremely proud of the work they do. I congratulate the staff at Short Term Assessment, Reablement and Telecare for achieving our highest rating.”

Lisa, from Branksome, was supported by the START team following a fall last year which resulted in several fractures and a subsequent hospital stay. 

Lisa said: “The START team helped me with domestic chores like feeding my cat, and with washing and personal care whilst I was recovering from my fall. The staff were so upbeat and welcoming, and really helped to lift my mood as well as providing excellent care. Nothing was too much trouble – they even suggested an automatic cat feeding station to me when I was worried about bending to do it myself, and lent one to me for the whole time I worked with them – it was such a good idea I then went out and bought my own. I have never had care like it.”

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