Inspectors praise SBC home care services

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home care services provided by all five Scottish Borders Council teams, including the home care team at Duns, have been rated as ‘very good’ by Care Commission inspectors following a visit in January this year.

The Duns team includes 80 carers who look after 190 people in their own homes across Berwickshire.

Over the past two years the service has undergone major changes, and the transition period has not always gone smoothly. Initially there were complaints from carers, service users and their families and in July last year SBC’s social work department admitted that initially “there were problems”. But the report by inspectors seems to indicate that many of these have now been ironed out.

As part of the inspection, questionnaires were sent out to 44 Berwickshire based service users with 18 returned and 20 went out to staff with nine returned. Inspectors also visited four service users and spoke to a further four people on the phone. Most of the clients were happy with their care and the inspection report also highlighted a recent staff questionnaire that “showed staff were happy with their hours and contracts as well as the support they received from the management team”.

Inspectors found staff were committed to providing a quality service to suit the individual needs of people of all ages who wish to remain in their own homes, which meant clients were receiving a very good standard of care and support, with care plans reviewed and updated regularly. Managers were providing good support to staff, with regular meetings, supervision and training and as a result of their findings inspectors had no requirements or recommendations to make.

Councillor Frances Renton, executive member for social work (social care and health) welcomed the findings and said: “Supporting people to remain independent in their own home is one of the most important aspects of the work done by social work services. It is therefore particularly encouraging to have acknowledgement from an independent body like the Care Commission that this work is being carried out to such a high standard right across the service, and it is a credit to the dedication and professionalism of all staff involved.”

Andrew Lowe, director of social work agreed: “To care for people within their own home is both a privilege and an enormous responsibility. As more and more people choose to remain at home it is more important than ever that the quality of care and support is high. I am delighted by this independent assessment. It is a testament to all the hard work put in by staff and managers to refresh and renew the service over the past two years.”