Care Quality Commission (CQC) independently regulates health and social care services throughout England and ensures that regulations are met within the services or care homes. Each care home has to meet certain criteria (the key lines of enquiry) to be rated as either inadequate, requiring improvement, good or outstanding. The key lines of enquiry ask whether the care home is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led.

Below we’ve outlined what each line of enquiry is assessing, and some examples that could help a care establishment meet these requirements.

Is the Care Home Safe?

This key line of enquiry aims to make sure that everyone who spends time in the care home feels safe, comfortable and secure. Here is some of the criteria that a care home is expected to fulfil to be CQC compliant:

  • The service users must feel that they are protected by all carers within the establishment, but still have a considerable amount of freedom (depending on their needs and requirements).
  • Recruitment practices should ensure that suitable staff are employed in sufficient number and have the skills required to deliver safe and effective care.
  • Staff must have a knowledge of Whistleblowing procedures and Safeguarding Polices to ensure the safety of Residents.
  • The care home should be kept clean and personal protection equipment provided, reducing the risk of infection spreading throughout the home.
  • Medication Audits should be conducted to ensure that individuals are receiving medication at the correct times, the right dosage and their medication is never out of stock.

Is the Care Home Effective?

To be an effective care home, the treatment and care that the service user is receiving should help them maintain a good quality of life and be beneficial to their health. Below is some of the criteria that a care home must fulfil to be considered an effective care home:

  • The layout of the care home should be designed to fully consider the needs of individual residents so that the home is a suitable and appropriate place for all residents to live.
  • Care plans ought to contain enough information regarding a person’s needs and abilities to ensure that they are to be met with effective interventions and support. The care plans should contain information regarding preferences and choices so that staff can give individualised care and treatment with a person-centred approach.
  • Training, competency assessments, supervision and appraisals should regularly take place to ensure optimum levels of expertise in the delivery of good quality care.
  • The resident and their family should be kept up to date with the care that the service user is receiving.

Is the Care Home Caring?

A care home deemed to meet the ‘caring’ criteria will ensure that the health and welfare of all residents is the primary focus. All service users must feel assured they are in good hands, and the staff should treat the residents with respect and dignity. Here are some of the requirements that care homes need to fulfil:

  • All carers should understand the likes, hopes and needs of each individual resident so that a relationship can be developed between the carer and resident.
  • Staff should ask each resident to add consent and feedback on the care that they have been given, so that the carer can understand how the resident would like to be cared for.
  • The privacy of all residents must be respected at all times and all communications between service users and staff must be with politeness and courtesy.
  • All residents should have the opportunity to be visited by family and friends, allowing them to stay in contact with their loved ones.
  • Care plans should demonstrate a holistic approach to care and as such should include the hobbies and interests of individuals so that these can be accommodated within an Activity Programme.

Is the Care Home Responsive?

This key line of enquiry helps make care homes ensure that care services are organised and adapted to fulfil a resident’s needs. Here are some examples that will help a care home achieve a positive responsive score:

  • When the needs of a resident change, it’s important that the care plan is updated to contain the latest information. With CareDocs, this process is made simple and easy as the care plans are stored digitally, allowing all carers to quickly update the plan.
  • Any concerns, or complaints that are raised by a resident, a resident’s family or staff, should be taken seriously. All complaints whether verbal or in writing should be acknowledged immediately and an investigation commenced. All findings are to be fed back to the complainant in a timely manner. Where necessary it may be necessary to invoke a Duty of Candour Policy.
  • When a resident lacks capacity according to MCA criteria and is unable to decide due to a lack of understanding, inability to retain or weigh up information, appreciate the consequences of a decision and inability to communicate a decision, then the decisions need to be made in that person’s Best Interest. It’s essential to have a good care plan that will contain all information that the decision-maker will need to conclude the decision.

Is the Care Home Well-Led?

The care establishment should be professionally managed and organised, always trying to improve the care being provided. Here are some of the main criteria that can help to ensure that a care home is well-led. This isn’t the full list, but we have outlined some of the main features:

  • A Quality Assurance programme should to be in place, not only to inspect and examine current practices but to also take corrective action and monitor measures put in place to prevent re occurrence. Reviews are required to take place to ensure all changes made have been effective.
  • A well-led home will demonstrate a proactive approach rather than a reactive approach. Staff will feel empowered to recognise changes that need to be made and be a part of the change-making process.
  • Management will take an analytical approach to complaints, accidents, notifications and risk assessments to ascertain whether current processes are adequate and make the appropriate amendments where necessary.
  • Stakeholder analysis and surveys will be conducted to gauge levels of satisfaction with the service. Feedback will be analysed and changes implemented where recommended is possible.

Once CQC has inspected a setting, it will provide a rating which is to be displayed in a prominent position within the care home:

Innovative, creative, constantly trying to improve, open and transparent.

Consistent level of good service and robust arrangements in place for when things go wrong.

Requires Improvement:
May have elements of good practice but inconsistent, potential or there’s a risk, and inconsistent responses when things go wrong.

Severe harm has or is likely to occur, shortfalls in practice, ineffective or no action taken to put things right or improve.

If you would like to find out more information about how CareDocs can help care homes achieve CQC compliance, please contact a member of our friendly team.

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