Posted: August 26th, 2016 10:10am +00:00

Care Homes: Risk and compliance obligations

According to Age UK, there are over 11.4 million people aged 65 or over in the UK – and there are now more people aged over 60 than there are under 18. With the number of older people in the UK on the rise, there is a growing need for care homes. Current estimates indicate there are more than 5,000 nursing homes and more than 12,500 residential homes in the UK – and these provide services for some 426,000 elderly and disabled people. Although many of these facilities provide a high level of service, in recent years, the standard of care in care homes has garnered many negative headlines. Ensuring excellent care – and preventing problems – requires a multi-faceted approach and risk and compliance management is an essential part of the process.

About the CQC

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. It aims to ensure that health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care – and it consistently encourages providers to improve their service. As well as care homes, the CQC regulates a number of other services relating to health and wellbeing these include:

  • Ambulances
  • Clinics
  • Dentists
  • GPs and doctors
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health services

In addition, the CQC inspects community-based services, such as services for people with learning disabilities and substance misuse services. It also inspects services in secure settings and agencies that provide care in the home. The CQC inspects and regulates services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety. It regularly publishes its findings and provides performance ratings to help people make informed decisions about their care. In other parts of the UK In Scotland, this function is carried out by the Care Inspectorate, while in Wales it’s the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and in Northern Ireland, it’s the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority. Each organisation has its own guidelines and regulations, but they all work in a similar way to ensure a consistent and high quality of care.

How the CQC governs care homes

The CQC has set out fundamental standards, which all providers must adhere to. These cover:

  • Person-centred care
  • Dignity and respect
  • Consent
  • Safety
  • Safeguarding from abuse
  • Food and drink
  • Premises and equipment
  • Complaints
  • Governance
  • Staffing
  • Duty of candour
  • Display of ratings

Before any care provider can carry out activities regulated by the CQC, they must register and demonstrate that they meet a number of requirements. Initially, the CQC looks at the information provided and makes a judgement on the provider’s suitability. Then, it regularly monitors the provider to ensure it meets required standards.

Risk and compliance

All organisations regulated by the CQC need to have good governance and they must take steps to ensure they meet the required standards. As part of the CQC’s assessment of a provider, they will check to see that there are systems in place to monitor and manage the quality and safety of care. These systems must also help the service to improve and reduce any risks to health, safety and welfare. As part of the CQC’s assessments, it creates Quality and Risk Profiles (QRPs) for each service. These enable the CQC to monitor compliance. Providers can also access the information to help with managing risk and improving the quality of service provided. You can learn more about the CQC’s QRPs and find out more about getting access to your organisation’s data by clicking here.

What happens when things go wrong?

The CQC uses its powers to make sure that patients receive care that meets a certain level of expectation – and to ensure that services improve should they fall below acceptable levels. Care providers and managers are held responsible for failures and the regulator can take a number of actions, depending on how problems affect the people who use the service. Actions taken can include:

  • Issuing requirement notices or warning notices, explaining what improvements are necessary and setting deadlines.
  • Changing a care provider’s registration, limiting what they can do for a given period of time.
  • Placing a provider in special measures.
  • Holding providers to account by issuing cautions, imposing fines or prosecuting cases.

In every case, the CQC will work closely with providers to keep them informed. The regulator will also include details of actions taken in their inspection reports and on its website.

Managing risk and compliance with JCAD CORE

JCAD CORE is risk management software that’s designed to help organisations monitor, manage and mitigate risk and ensure compliance. It provides a flexible framework that can be customised to suit your specific requirements and help managers in care homes and other medical facilities to ensure they meet the standards set out by the CQC.

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