Care homes in England are regulated by the independent regulatory authority; The Care Quality Commission (CQC), and have been since 2009.
The CQC is responsible for regulating all care homes whether the NHS, Local authorities or voluntary and charitable organisations provide them.
The Fundamental Standards
The CQC has provided the Fundamental Standards. These serve as guidance for Care providers to ensure that they are delivering high quality care to their service users.
The Fundamental Standards outline the care people ought to expect when they live in a care home.
The CQC carry out unannounced inspections. These are to investigate whether homes are meeting the standards and to issue them with a rating.
Care homes are awarded one of four classes, Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate.
Currently 77% of services are rated as GOOD.
2% are rated as OUTSTANDING and 2% are INADEQUATE.
19% are rated as REQUIRES IMPROVEMENT.
These figures have improved since the new inspection regime commenced in 2014.
There are still improvements to be made. The latest CQC actions are to focus time and resources on services that need to improve. This is to bring them into line with the many Outstanding and Good services.
Frequency of Inspections
If you are an Outstanding or Good service you may wait a little bit longer for your routine inspection, unless intelligence is received that would require the CQC to respond and inspect sooner.
If you fall into the Requires Improvement rating then you can expect a re-inspection within 12 months.
Homes with an Inadequate rating will usually be visited within a 6 month time frame. Homes that are placed into special measures will be unable to take new admissions. This can have a real impact on the business performance of the home.
However, high quality care has to come first so homes must be able to evidence improvement before they can begin to take new admissions again.
In very serious cases where homes do not improve, the CQC has the power to close homes and remove their registration.
The Mum Test
Andrea Sutcliffe is the chief inspector of adult social care for the CQC. When she came into post in 2013 she described the ‘mum test’. Andrea advises that all providers and people working in adult social care ask themselves one simple question ‘Is this good enough for my mum? Or any other member of my family?’
If the service is good enough for the people you love the most then you know you are providing a good service.
Where the answer is no then improvements are to be made.
If it is not good enough for your own loved ones it is not good enough for anyone else’s either.