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The Avenue, Darlington

The Avenue in Darlington, County Durham, providing personal and nursing care to people with learning disabilities was rated outstanding for being responsive and well-led following an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), 5 February 2020.

It achieved the score of good for the safe, effective and caring categories.

The CQC report highlighted that relatives and professionals gave extremely positive feedback regarding how staff ensured people had choice and control over their own lives.

One professional said "All the evidence pointed to families and professionals being fully involved in care. It's really pleasing to see."

A relative said "Everything is perfect.”

The provider held 'house meetings' instead of separate staff and resident meetings because the service was wholly built around the people living in the home. The meetings covered subjects such as health and safety, medication, what training had been completed and asking people and staff if they have identified any additional specific training.

A GP said "They are involved in everything. Nothing is too much trouble. If they want to do something, they go out of their way to get it done."

Funding received by the provider to help support people was used to access activities, services and events that the people living in the home wanted to attend. This included specific day services. These were entirely the choice of the individual, fully encouraged and supported by staff.

The provider renewed staff inductions periodically. This specifically kept staff knowledge and practice up to date and was last completed in 2019.

Staff were proud to work at the service and described a family atmosphere which promoted people's wellbeing. Staff comments included, "It's not about coming to work, it's not just a job" and "It's just so nice that you can help prepare people to live happily in society."

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