A care home service in Northamptonshire has put ending the overmedication of people with autism at the heart of its care, with inspectors rating the provider outstanding.

Alderwood provides residential care and supported living for young people and adults who have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders and challenging behaviour.

The Care Quality Commission found ‘staff were passionate and dedicated to their roles and had belief in the ethos of the support they received, and that of the provider in general.

‘Staff at all levels had a strong belief that they were providing the best possible care for people, and were confident and empowered in their roles because of the strong leadership and management across the company.’

In addition, they were ‘innovative in their approach to support, and were enthusiastic about supporting people to overcome life’s hurdles’.

The residents are treated with ‘kindness, dignity and respect’.

Rob Assall-Marsden, CQC’s head of Inspection for Adult Social Care in the central region said: “Our inspection team was really impressed by the level of care and support offered to people living at these services provided by Alderwood.

“People using these services were supported to work towards and complete major achievements in their lives. Alderwood helped strengthen their positive links with resource centres for people with a learning disability, local leisure facilities, health and wellbeing providers and employers who offered work placements.”

He added: “Feedback from relatives was extremely positive and many commented on the unique nature of the service and how their own lives had also improved. The service had a consistently high level of engagement with relatives of people that used the service.

“The provider was involved with the development of a national initiative to try and prevent the over-medication of people with learning disabilities or autism and this ethos was firmly embedded within the service.”

The national initiative is STOMP (Stopping Over Medication of People with Learning Disabilities, Autism or both). The care service has embedded the ethos firmly in staff practice, with one staff member telling inspectors that one person was now on far fewer medications than they were previously, due to the positive approach to supporting them with behaviours which may challenge.

Residents are supported to maintain a healthy and balanced diet and are encouraged to make decisions about their care and their day to day routines and preferences.

Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of Adult Social Care, said: “The quality of care which our inspectors found here was exceptional and I am very pleased that we can celebrate the service’s achievements. “An outstanding service is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work and commitment. I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved.”

To view the report go to http://www.cqc.org.uk/provider/1-101655766

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