Warning for failing Sheffield home care service

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A care service in Sheffield which looks after the elderly and disabled has been given an official warning after inspectors discovered poor standards.

The Care Quality Commission health watchdog has told Direct Health Sheffield, based in Attercliffe, it must improve after people who used the service raised concerns.

Inspectors spoke to almost 30 patients and their relatives and said most were ‘very unhappy’ with the firm.

“People did not experience care, treatment and support that met their needs and protected their rights,” a report said.

“This has a major impact on people who use the service and we have taken enforcement action.”

A spokeswoman for Direct Health said the company had made ‘significant progress’ in addressing the commission’s concerns.

Inspectors said some people told them that staff were often late or early, or failed to turn up at all.

A blind customer said their carer had once arrived three hours late to serve them breakfast, while another added: “It just seems impossible to get them to stick to the agreed times. One came at 2.45pm for my midday lunchtime visit.”

Another customer said: “Sometimes they are late. Some seem to be in a hurry to get away.”

The report continued: “Some people told us they did not have regular staff to support them and several people said they never know who is coming.

“During our home visits we spoke to five people. Three told us there had been occasions when only one care worker had arrived instead of two, as identified as needed and agreed.

“On one occasion one service user’s relative had to help the carer move their relative, even though they know they’re not supposed to.”

Inspectors also discovered out-of-date care plans and found some care patients were not being given their medication on time.

“We observed a worker deliver care without looking at the care plan during a home visit. People were at risk of receiving inappropriate care.”

The Direct Health spokeswoman said: “We would like to reassure our customers we remain committed to providing the highest levels of health and social care.

“Since the inspection, we have been working closely with the Care Quality Commission and Sheffield Council to address the issues raised.

”We have made significant progress in addressing the areas of concern to ensure customers receive services which meet their needs.”