Galashiels autism support group says it "has addressed" weak service areas

A Galashiels-based housing support and care at home service for people with autism says it has addressed issues highlighted by a recent report by the Care Inspectorate, which branded four of its service areas as “weak”.

By Kevin Janiak
Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 11:34 am
Autism Initiatives office in Ladhope Vale, Galashiels

Autism Initiatives (UK) was found wanting in the quality of care and support and the safeguarding of people’s health during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the inspectors also said “infection prevention and control practices” for “people experiencing care and staff” was weak, as well as the responsiveness of leadership and staffing arrangements as regards the changing needs of people experiencing care.

The service, coordinated from an office in Galashiels, provides care and support to six people living in tenancies within two staffed houses in Longnewton, near St Boswells, and an outreach service provided to people within the community.

Inspectors spoke to five relatives to seek their views, and while some said they were “happy with the service” overall, some had concerns about communication between staff and the families, and that they were not kept informed about changes to their family members’ health.

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Inspectors said the service’s level of care and support during Covid had “some strengths”, but these were “outweighed or compromised by significant weaknesses”.

They found care plans were detailed, but many were out of date. There was also a “lack of meaningful activities” and no forward planning for such.

The report said that cleanliness in most areas of the home were “satisfactory”, but stated that the cleanliness of “mattresses, carpets, sofas, and dirty laundry left out was of concern and required attention to help minimise the potential spread of infection.”

Inspectors also found there was a “shortage of staff at times”, and those in place were working long hours.

A spokesperson for Autism Initiatives said: “This service has, in recent years, a record of being assessed as providing a good standard of care and support. All supported people who live there are safe and well and continue to make good progress. However, the most recent care inspection has identified some areas for improvement which we have addressed immediately, working closely with all stakeholders.

“Our priority is always the wellbeing of the people we support and their families.”