What are the standards?
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) Fundamental Standards came into force in 2014 and replaced the previous ‘Essential Standards of Quality and Safety.’
The Fundamental Standards are benchmarks below which a person’s care must never fall.
The CQC has the power to take action against care homes which do not provide safe, high quality care in accordance with these standards.
These powers assist the CQC to ensure that people are protected from harm, to make sure that services improve if they are failing and also to hold Providers and Care Managers to account for failures in care provision.
What do the standards say that people should expect when receiving care?
The Fundamental standards have 13 sections and list what people have the right to expect as part of their care.
These include things such as:
- the physical environment
- staffing and safety
- person centred care
- privacy and dignity
Care providers can use the standards to measure the effectiveness of their service.
How could AutumnCare help a care home meet many of the Fundamental Standards?
Person Centred Care
Ensuring that all staff know about their resident’s life history and interests will assist them to provide personalised care and this information can be available instantly to all personnel (regular and casual) via user-friendly summary care plans on mobile devices.
AutumnCare has a comprehensive library of assessments relating to social, cultural, leisure and lifestyle needs that promote the personalisation of care plans and the provision of person-centred care by guiding carers to consider all aspects of their resident’s personality, needs and preferences.
Dignity and Respect
Focusing on your resident’s abilities rather than their disabilities helps to support them to be as independent as possible as well as prompting staff to view their resident’s as people, moving away from the medical model of care in which people are characterised by their medical problems.
The CQC says that residents should be supported to be as independent as possible and to stay involved in their local community.
It is essential that any care is carried out with the consent of your resident. When this is not possible then it must be conducted in the best interests of the individual.
AutumnCare has a range of tools to ensure that consent and decision making is carried out by the right people and documented accordingly.
If a resident has capacity, then staff should be developing care plans and records in collaboration with them. Writing care plans in the first person emphasises the involvement that the resident has had in developing their own plan of care.
AutumnCare has tools for assessing capacity and making best interest decisions.
We also advocate that if relatives have Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) for their loved one that a copy of this is uploaded into their AutumnCare profile for reference. Holding the LPA in an accessible system facilitates quick and informed decision-making where required.
In a care home environment one of the ways to ensure that residents are kept safe is to assess risk.
Assessing risk with regard to malnutrition, falls, skin integrity and so on is a good way to identify potential issues and safeguard against them. Having access to an extensive library of risk assessments means that the care home can choose the ones they want for their organisation and according to individual resident need.
To further improve on safety, analyse historical incidents that have happened in the home. AutumnCare makes this really easy; running a report to look at incidents can help to identify trends and thereby the underlying causes. For example, should fall incidents spike at specific times of the day this might direct Care Managers to spot additional staffing needs.
Safeguarding from Abuse
Abuse can take many forms. Common referrals to safeguarding are made when people’s care has been neglected. Failing to monitor someone losing a lot of weight, or not managing a pressure ulcer effectively can fall into the abuse category.
AutumnCare provides the tools to monitor resident’s health and also has prompts and indicators to ensure that important monitoring is not missed.
Food and Drink
People receiving care must be provided with enough to eat and drink to keep them in good health.
It is also important to ensure that resident’s preferences, likes and dislikes are recorded to enable them to eat and drink the things that they enjoy.
Premises and Equipment
The CQC state that the place where someone receives care and the equipment used must be suitable and well maintained.
In order to make sure that suitable equipment is used for the individual resident, our Mobility and Safety assessment clearly records exactly what type of equipment is required.
In addition, it is important to demonstrate how equipment and aids are maintained and fit for purpose.
One of the biggest bugbears for relatives of care home residents is when communication falls short – yet it is an incredibly large task for homes that look after many people to ensure relatives and loved ones are always kept in the loop.
AutumnCare messages are a quick and easy way to communicate with staff – crucially, AutumnCare tells the Manager who has received, read and acknowledged the information.
Duty of Candour
The Duty of Candour fundamental standard ensures providers of care are transparent and open with their residents and their relatives.
If the worst does happen, and something does go wrong care homes need to be honest, explain what has happened and apologise for the error.
AutumnCare incident forms prompt the staff member to ensure that the next of kin (if appropriate) are informed about the incident, even if circumstances don’t allow for this to happen immediately. The instruction can be added to the Interactive Handover or assigned as a Task automatically to ensure that it does not get missed.
AutumnCare can help care homes evidence good governance by assisting in meeting the above criteria as well as maintaining the accurate, complete and contemporaneous records for each service user required by the CQC.
Demonstrating that the home is being run well involves showing the ease with which:
- notes can be created and safely stored
- risks can be assessed
- decisions can be made and recorded
Care providers must also record decisions taken in relation to care and treatment; evidence that the correct procedure has been taken and of course store everything securely in line with the Data Protection Act 1998.