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Aberdeen housing support service found to not promote a ‘meaningful life’ following inspection

The Aberdeen-based social service worker has been issued a warning from the Scottish Social Services Council.
The Aberdeen-based social service worker has been issued a warning from the Scottish Social Services Council.

Inspectors have ordered an Aberdeen housing support service to make improvements after finding the environment did not promote “a meaningful life” for residents.

Living Ambitions Limited, in Aberdeen, has been ranked as “weak” following an unannounced visit from the Care Inspectorate.

The service provides housing support and care at home for adults and older people with learning disabilities.

Those supported live in a purpose-built complex of three buildings and live in either single or two-person accommodation. They also have a private back garden and staff are there to support them 24 hours a day.

During the visit, inspectors noted a lack of “timely” communication between staff and family members.

It was discovered that families and representatives were not always kept informed of changes in someone’s daily life.

As a result, it was found that some people may not be receiving the appropriate care and support they need.

Lack of activity led to ‘frustrations, anxiety, and distress’

According to the report, the service had “significant weaknesses” in supporting people’s wellbeing.

Inspectors found documents supporting the use of restraints were not detailed and interventions relied on verbal guidance – leading to confusion and inconsistent practices.

The report read: “We could not be confident that the least restrictive option had always been used to help keep people safe.

“Although the restrictions were implemented to promote safety, they did not always follow the principles of The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000.”

Very few social outings or interactions were documented for residents, despite the easing of restrictions. Many have been unable to return to their pre-pandemic routine.

People would pass their time with “solitary and passive activities” such as puzzles, reading magazines and watching TV.

Inspectors believe this has led to “frustrations, anxiety, and distress” at times, with people not being supported to do things they enjoy.

Despite there being plans with detailed person-centered information, they do not state clearly how their needs would be met.

It was found that as a consequence, there was an “increased risk” that people were not receiving the safe care and support right for them.

‘Concerns around staff practices’

The report also revealed staff were not always following the best infection prevention and control for coronavirus.

Although Covid training has been issued and staff have been monitored, the guidance has not been updated.

There are also concerns about medication errors and the impact staff conflict is having on the supporting residents.

Inspectors felt that parts of the buildings were not welcoming or peaceful, stopping people from having a relaxing lifestyle.

Social spaces and gardens were found to be unwelcoming or unusable, meaning the environment does not promote a meaningful life.

Requirements issued

Due to the weak performance, several requirements have been issued by the Care Inspectorate.

By July 1, Living Ambitions must ensure positive outcomes for the people who use the service and they are “getting the most out of life”.

To do this the provider must improve communications and ensure staff are able to demonstrate a clear understanding of their role and responsibilities.

Workers must also ensure that the least restrictive option is used when restraining people to keep them safe and that personal plans are kept up to date.

Furthermore, management must make sure that infection protection procedures are followed and staff are trained appropriately.

A spokesman for Living Ambitions explained they were already working on improvements to the service before receiving the Care Inspectorate report.

He said: “We are completely committed to improving our services, and we have put extra resources into the project to ensure that this happens swiftly.

“We continue to work closely with the Local Authority and the Care Inspector and we will ensure that all of the requirements made by the Care Inspectorate are fully met.”

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