close up of service user Stephen at Chalkdown House

Staff at Chalkdown House were praised today following a recent unannounced inspection by the Care Quality Commission led to a rating of ‘Good’.

The 20-bed Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT) centre helps people relearn lost skills following a stroke, accident or illness but the charity announced last month that it would close at the end of August 2017 due to lack of demand following NHS changes.

At the centre, the inspectors reported that the people undergoing rehabilitation were safe, treated with dignity and respect and supported by ‘caring staff who had a clear understanding of people's complex needs.’

Risks were identified and managed, each person’s independence and well-being were encouraged, they were supported to have maximum choice and control and were involved in all decisions about their care.

As people reach the appropriate stage in their rehabilitation, discharge plans are of prime importance and the inspectors noted that staff were working closely with funders, families and each individual to find suitable future placements to minimise any feelings of being unsettled.

The centre’s closure, announced since the inspection, means that all five people currently undergoing rehabilitation will now be moved to other placements.

The range of clinicians employed in the service was mentioned by the inspectors and it was noted that care plans were detailed and access to additional specialist support was readily available.

Whilst the closure had not been announced at the time of the inspection, staff were uncertain about the future because of a recent change in CQC registration from independent hospital to care home offering treatment.

However, it was noted that BIRT was supporting staff and despite the uncertainty, they said that they felt valued and listened to by management. The inspectors considered that there were sufficient staff to meet the needs of the people they were supporting both within and outside the centre.

The Manager, Jane Blackett, was praised for promoting an ‘open and transparent culture’ which responded appropriately to any concerns or complaints.

BIRT Director Cath Murray-Howard said: “I would like to say thank you to everybody who works at Chalkdown House, staff should be very proud of this ‘Good’ rating.

“We are all very sad that the centre is closing but we are doing all we can to support each person as they move to new placements, and to support the staff team.”

The closure of the centre was announced on 27 June 2017.