An Aberdeen care provider has been asked to take better care of people’s finances in a report published today.
Cornerstone Aberdeen Housing Support and Care at Home, which offers a range of services in a number of different settings including sheltered housing and group homes, was marked as “adequate” by inspectors.
While the grading was at a three on the one to six scale, inspectors – who visited on February 9 – did not make any recommendations.
In their Care Inspectorate report, they explained: “The service had assessed its own performance and identified relevant areas for improvement.
‘Working hard to improve’
“It was working hard to improve. As this work was in progress we did not make any requirements saying instead that the operator had itself identified ways in which improvements had to be made.”
Cornerstone supports more than 300 people in their own homes, either alone, sharing with someone else, or with several other people in a house registered as a house of multiple occupation.
Inspectors said services in sheltered housing had significantly improved.
However, in supported living settings, staff “struggled to meet the competing demands of the people they supported, their additional cleaning duties due to Covid-19 and the general day to day running of the service.”
The report continued: “Since the start of the pandemic, most of the people haven’t had the option to go to work or access external day opportunities.
“Combined, these circumstances have had a significant impact on people’s quality of life and health and wellbeing.”
The provider was asked to implement a review of staffing.
“Consideration ought to be given to the increased support people require to keep their environment clean, so as to minimise infectious outbreak and so that people have meaningful activities throughout the day,” the report stated.
Concerns over financial management
Inspectors raised concerns about the management of finances.
The report said: “It is important to have clear and robust guidelines for staff to follow.
“Following a review, the service had identified areas where the guidelines needed to improve, so as to provide the necessary safeguards to people’s money and how it is spent.”
While inspectors identified a “lack of clear leadership and confusion over staff roles”, it said there was a detailed action plan of how matters were to be improved.
There were a number of areas of improvement identified by inspectors including looking at use of communal spaces during an infectious outbreak and a review of people’s support plans.
Sara Murphy, director of delivery for Cornerstone said the home had improved significantly since its previous inspection in November 2021: “We are pleased to note an improvement in our grades after having taken immediate steps to put an action plan in place. This plan, along with a longer-term service improvement plan, has helped us to go above and beyond the original recommendations, allowing us to focus on delivering person-centred care that both improves the wellbeing outcomes of the people we support and enhances their experiences.
“We note that the care and support we have been able to provide during the Covid-19 pandemic was deemed adequate in the Care Inspectorate report, and that our hard working staff were able to demonstrate knowledge of important infection prevention and control procedures helping to keep residents safe.
“It is also encouraging that the Care Inspectorate noted the considerable improvements made and all previous requirements have been met”.
She added: “The challenges presented during the Covid pandemic have been disruptive and relentless, and the improvements we have been able to make are solely down to the sheer hard work, determination and dedication of our staff teams.
“As part of our commitment to shared learning and continuous improvement, we will now take the recommendations from the report and note the areas for further improvement.”