A company providing home care has been rated “requires improvement” over staffing issues.
Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspectors visiting Huddersfield-based Comfort Call Kirklees in November heard complaints of staff arriving late or failing to turn up for home visits and inconsistency in rotas.
The report said: “A key concern gathered during feedback from people who use the service was in regard to staffing, late calls and inconsistency of staff attending their calls. The systems of governance had not identified or addressed these matters.”
And it added: “Future inspections will seek to evidence these issues have been addressed and people have received a consistently high level of service.”
Inspectors gave Comfort Call an overall rating of “requires improvement” with the same rating for safety, effectiveness and leadership. Comfort Call, which is based at Prospect Street and provides care and support to 107 people, was rated “good” for being caring and responsive.
The report said staff were aware of safety procedures and felt they had the skills to do their job. New employees received induction which included face-to-face training and shadowing a more experienced staff member. There was a rolling programme of refresher training, management supervision and observational assessments to ensure staff had the knowledge and ability to fulfil their role.
It said: “Everyone we spoke with told us staff were caring and kind. Staff treated them with respect and took steps to maintain their privacy. Staff were able to tell us about the actions they took to maintain people’s dignity and ensure people’s private information was kept confidential.”
The report said: “Clients and their relatives told us the staff were caring, friendly and kind and people’s privacy, dignity and individual preferences were respected.”
But the report said: “People we spoke with raised a number of concerns regarding missed calls and staff arriving late.”
Inspectors heard how care workers making their evening visits had arrived at a client’s home as late as 10.20pm. In cases where two care workers were required to attend a call, one could be waiting more than 20 minutes for their colleague to arrive.
Feedback regarding the consistency of staff providing people’s care was also variable with one client complaining that the care workers kept changing. Another said: “There is no consistency at all; this can upset my relative sometimes.”
The inspectors said management had taken action to tackle the shortcomings by introducing an electronic monitoring system for staff to log in and out as they arrived and left people’s homes – enabling office-based staff to monitor attendance at calls, pre-empt late calls and reduce the risk of missed calls.
Max Wurr, a senior spokesperson for Comfort Call, said: “We at Comfort Call are grateful to the Care Quality Commission for their constructive feedback in the recent report in respect of our office in Kirklees.
“Like all social care employers, we face challenges recruiting and retaining sufficient staff to deliver our services and most of the shortcomings identified reflect this reality.
“Nevertheless, we are very pleased to say that even before we received the report, we had already made considerable strides in addressing the staffing shortfall. We are now fully staffed with a healthy recruitment pipeline and are confident that we will deliver sustained improvement for the benefit of those receiving our services.
“We do of course apologise unreservedly to anyone that has not received the standard of service that they are entitled to expect.”