‘Good’ news as Alice Bye Extra Care scheme impresses CQC inspectors

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Posted 17 March 2022

Inspectors have praised the “person-centered culture” and “dignity and respect” afforded to residents at an Extra Care development in Thatcham after a new management team was appointed to improve service delivery.

Earlier this month (February) the Care Quality Commission (CQC) rated the Alice Bye Court scheme as ‘Good’ - one standard below outstanding - following an inspection of the site in January 2022.

The team at Alice Bye Court

Upon reviewing the provision of care and speaking with employees and residents, the report praised the “experienced personalised care from a stable staff team” who “promoted people’s independence whilst ensuring they were safe”.

Following the scheme’s last CQC report which identified Alice Bye as requiring improvement, a new Care Manager and four new Assistant Care Managers were appointed, with employees telling the inspector: “We now feel we are all working together to provide the best care we can, and our ideas and thoughts are encouraged.”

Katie Joyce Housing and Care Manager at Alice Bye said: “Although this process has been a great challenge for all of the team, we have now embedded a great service here at Alice Bye court. We are continuing to maintain the improvement here and our goal is to work hard towards outstanding. The now stable and well experienced team take pride in ensuring that all of our residents are kept safe and looked after like they would look after their own family members.

“We are organising many activities and events at the scheme which will benefit the residents’ wellbeing and reduce the risk of social isolation. Alice Bye Court is a bright and happy place, to both live and work. We are all extremely happy with the latest CQC rating.”

The latest inspection followed a report in March 2021 which ordered the scheme to make significant improvements, with concerns raised about the management team.

Following this, Katie and the four Assistant Care Managers were appointed, which colleagues saying “morale, team spirit and teamwork” had “significantly improved” and with the inspector recognising the “strong sense of leadership from the registered manager and assistant care manager which set the standards for staff”. 

Significant improvements had also been made in the administration of medicines, with employees provided with clear guidance, regular observations and competency reviews, as well as the Care Manager operating systems and procedures to protect people from risk of poor care.

During and after the inspection, residents and their families spoke with the inspector, describing the Care Workers as “marvelous” and as receiving “safe care from staff they trusted”. Another resident added: “The carers couldn’t be any better. They look after me like one of their own and always cheer me up. I really look forward to them coming.”

In the report summary, the inspector noted: “People experienced safe care, protected from avoidable harm by staff who had completed safeguarding training and knew how to recognise and report different types of abuse. Staff demonstrated high standards of hygiene and cleanliness whilst delivering care and support.

“People were supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives and staff supported them in the least restrictive way possible and in their best interests; the policies and systems in the service supported this practice. 

“The management team led by example and promoted a person-centered culture where people and staff felt valued. Quality assurance was embedded within the culture and running of the service to drive continuous improvement.” 

Alice Bye is managed by Housing 21, a not-for-profit provider of Extra Care and Retirement Living for older people of modest means. The scheme incorporates one- and two-bedroom apartments available for rent and shared ownership, as well as communal facilities including a lounge, gardens, restaurant and guest room for visitors. 

Alice Bye is currently recruiting for Care Workers, with an hourly rate of £10.91.

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