A TROUBLED Ross-shire elderly people's care home which failed an inspection has now picked up slightly in performance, according to a Care Commission review.
Wyvis House in Dingwall was graded as "weak" in all aspects of its care after inspectors visited the 48-bed home in February last year. Inspectors said the grading was unacceptable and that unless standards improved, they would step in, with closure as a last resort.
But following the latest inspection, carried out unannounced in December 2010, the care home has gained "adequate" standards across the board.
Care homes are graded on a 1-6 basis, 6 being excellent and 1 being unsatisfactory.
Wyvis House has been graded as 3 (adequate) in the four areas of inspection: quality of care and support; quality of environment; quality of staffing; and quality of management and leadership.
In their report, inspectors said Wyvis House's strong points were:
l Purpose-built, well maintained environment;
l Welcoming atmosphere;
l Approachable management.
But it could do better on:
l Completion of reviews of care plans, with evidence of involvement of appropriate people;
l Improvement of staffing levels at key times of the day to ensure appropriate support to residents;
l Effective auditing systems;
l Medication management.
Inspectors said: "The service has made progress since the previous inspection and the overall impression is that most people living at Wyvis House who can express a view on it are generally satisfied with the overall level of care provided.
"However, there are still some areas residents would like to be improved, particularly availability of staff to respond quickly at all times, when they need help.
"The appointment of a new and enthusiastic manager, to complete the management team, has begun to raise morale at Wyvis House and provided opportunities to begin to monitor the service operation more effectively. This has also provided space to tackle staff disciplinary issues and make new appointments."
Inspectors still had some concerns about the skill and commitment of some members of staff, but in general felt there was an overall improvement in the quality of staffing at Wyvis House.
Medication issues which gave cause for concern at a previous inspection have not yet been reassessed because the Care Commission pharmacist's planned visit was postponed due to bad weather. However, they understood work had been done to improve matters, and the pharmacist would visit Wvyis House to verify this.
Ashley Sham, managing director of RDS Healthcare which has run Wyvis House since March 2009, welcomed the improvements and said they would carry on.
"We're delighted with the improvements and the fact that the home has moved forward in the right direction," said Mr Sham.
"We now have an excellent management team and our operations director is also contributing greatly to the improvement of the service, along with Wyvis House staff."
RDS Healthcare also owns Marine House Care Home in Rosemarkie on the Black Isle. It was inspected in July last year and has also seen improvements in the quality of its service. On quality of environment it was graded as 4 "good" (previously a 3); quality of care and support 5 "very good" (4); quality of management and leadership 4 (3); and quality of staffing 4 (4).