AN AYRSHIRE care at home service has been told to improve its practices following a 'weak' rating from inspectors.

Carewatch, which operates throughout North Ayrshire with an office based in Elliot House in Irvine, provides a care and support service to older people and adults with learning disabilities and mental health support needs.

At the time of the unannounced Care Inspectorate visits in December, the service was supporting 178 people.

Inspectors found that recruitment and retention of staff has been "challenging" for the service and "impacted on consistency of support for people".

It was found that communication and consultation with the people who use the service and their families needs to improve, while the management team "require to improve systems around medication support and recording".

The report graded the quality of support for people's wellbeing and the quality of leadership at the service as 'weak'.

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It said: "Support provided, as detailed in care notes, was often for very short periods of time, whilst providing support with a variety and sometimes intimate activities.

"We were told from a person supported: 'They are sometimes in and out as fast as they can, it feels very rushed at times.'

"It was difficult to see meaningful and respectful connections during these interactions."

Inspectors noted that people were "generally positive" about the support provided by care staff, however, whilst some strengths were identified, "significant weaknesses" compromised these.

The report said: "Many of the risk assessments sampled had not been updated since 2020 and weren't informing care plans and support provided.

"The service has an organisational development plan in place. Whilst this details specific actions for the service, it is not clear how this is used operationally to identify priorities, review outcomes and track improvements.

"During periods of challenge for the service, it is important that improvement priorities are recognised and reviewed regularly to identify progress as well as areas for development."

Inspectors listed several requirements and areas for improvement that the service must meet before its next inspection.

The report added: "Observations of practice were carried out where there was a number of medication errors, however, there was no information recorded in relation to reflections from the staff member or lessons learned for the service.

"We could not be confident that the necessary actions had been taken to ensure the health, welfare and safety needs of people who use the service were being met."

A spokesman for CSN Care Group, Carewatch's parent company, said: "As detailed in the Care Inspectorate report, Carewatch have put in practice a series of development plans to support our colleagues and service users out in the community.

"Our colleagues remain highly motivated and focussed on providing high quality care.

"We continue to strive to strengthen positive relationships with our team, service users and their loved ones."