A supported living service for people with learning disabilities in Bristol and South Gloucestershire has been rated outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
Run by leading learning social care charity Milestones Trust, the service, which supports people with learning disabilities and mental health needs to live independently, is described as “outstandingly caring” in the CQC report following a three-day inspection in October and November.
This comes on the back of two other ‘Outstanding’ reports for the charity, one for Flaxpits House, a shared home for younger people with learning disabilities in Winterbourne, and another for 50 Vassalls Road, a shared home in Fishponds, Bristol, for up to six people with learning disabilities.
Milestones Trust’s supported living service currently works with 244 people across 186 locations in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, providing a range of support tailored to meet individuals’ needs, ranging from personal care to accessing social activities or seeking employment.
Two separate teams support people with either a learning disability or mental health condition.
The CQC report states: “Staff were extremely caring and supportive … People were very much the centre of their care and involved in the recruitment of their staff teams. Staff were committed to providing a service that was tailored to each person they supported. Staff were enthusiastic and worked with people to enable them to achieve positive outcomes. They understood their roles in relation to encouraging people’s independence whilst protecting and safeguarding people from harm.”
Jeff Parry, director of operations for Milestones Trust, said: “We are incredibly proud of our talented and committed staff who run a service we believe to be outstanding – so we are delighted their hard work and dedication has been recognised as so by the CQC.
“The people we support are at the centre of everything we do and we believe passionately in helping them to build and maintain independence. For some people this might mean daily support with personal care, but for many people – and in fact the majority of people using this service – it’s help with the things that most of us take for granted, like shopping, cooking, getting from place to place or making friends and socialising.
“Supported living and effective, person-centred care are fundamental to ensuring that together, as a society we not only ‘look after’ our most vulnerable people – but we support them to thrive, to dream and to live fulfilled lives.”
Andrew, 43, lives in supported living accommodation provided by Milestones Trust in Bristol. He has Tourette’s syndrome, ADHD and OCD and went into residential care at the age of 16, moving onto supported living accommodation at Milestones Trust last year. He said: “I love where I live. It’s the best ever. I have my own space, the staff support us when we need them, and I can crack on with what I want to do. It’s amazing. It’s just the bees’ knees! The staff are top quality, they’re fantastic. They are very supportive and very caring and great at helping me learn new things.”
The service was rated ‘Outstanding’ for being both caring and responsive, with the CQC report describing it as: “Outstandingly responsive in meeting people’s individual needs. People were listened to and their dreams and aspirations were acknowledged and acted upon.
“The service strongly advocated for people to ensure they had the care and support they needed. There were responsive to people’s changing needs and promoted choice on where and who they wanted to live with.”
In separate reports, two small residential homes for people with learning disabilities were also classified ‘Outstanding’ by the CQC.
Following an unannounced CQC visit, Flaxpits House, a spacious, lively residential home offering care and support to people aged 18-40 with learning disabilities and complex and emotional needs, inspectors found:
“People were treated with kindness and compassion. People received an exceptionally responsive service. Care and support was personalised and person led. People were supported to take part in a variety of activities and trips out based on their interests and aspirations. This included looking at long term goals such as living more independently.
“Creative and positive steps had been taken to promote positive relationships with each other and supporting people with a positive behaviour approach enabling them to deal with their emotions.
“There were many examples were people were supported to lead the life they wanted. There was a ‘can do’ attitude.”
The CQC report for 50 Vassalls Road, where six people with learning disabilities share their home in a friendly, informal atmosphere and are supported by fully trained staff, found:
“People were very well supported to exercise choice and control of their lives. The staff team supported them in the least restrictive way they could. The service was very flexible and responded creatively to people’s individual needs or wishes. Activities were highly individualised to fully reflect people’s interests, wishes and choices.
“They were supported to be fully involved in all aspects of their care and were supported to lead their lives in the way they chose. People’s views and opinions were proactively sought and listened to. Feedback from people receiving support was taken constructively to drive improvements.”
Jeff Parry, director of operations for Milestones Trust added:
“Our staff have worked hard to create a culture where along with safety, respect and dignity, helping the people to build and maintain independence is at the heart of what we do. And that applies as much in our residential care homes as it does in our supported living services – so it’s very encouraging to see that officially recognised by the CQC.”