The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has announced that it will be making changes to its regulatory framework in April 2023. This means that some care home providers may need to adapt to meet its new approach to inspections. Expert care consultants, Fulcrum Care, outline what differences care providers can expect from the future of care regulation.
There have been a number of challenges that have impacted the health and care sectors in recent years, from the coronavirus pandemic, changing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) policies, issues with recruitment, occupancy retention and inadequate budgetary support. This has not only affected care home providers, owners and managers, but also the CQC in how to adapt to meet the changing nature of the sector.
One such challenge has been due to a decrease in how and when the CQC can visit care homes for audits and inspections, which has created a greater demand for self-reporting from care providers.
How are CQC regulations changing?
Currently, the regulatory system for the care sector was based on Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs), as well as ratings characteristics. In its latest announcements, the CQC has confirmed that it will now be shifting to a data-driven framework that will assess care homes and local authorities with a universal and consistent set of themes that are risk-based and give more attention to internal whistleblowing for decisions on in-person inspections.
The new guidelines will include:
- 5 key questions on what residents expect from the care provider
- Quality statements from the care provider for their accountability
- Evidence and quality indicators, including care staff observation and resident outcomes
- Data gathered from similar care provision services, such as Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) or local authorities.
What will care providers need to adapt to?
The CQC described its new approach as data-driven and people-led, promoting dynamic regulation with responses based on accurate information. This will enable it to place greater emphasis on providing resource, learning and improvement actions, with collaboration from care home providers, owners and workers, with:
- One, universal CQC framework system
- Quality and risk assessments, rather than inspection schedules
- Better understanding of improvement actions
- Evidence scores, as opposed to current ratings
- Narrative reports with summaries
How can care providers prepare for the upcoming CQC changes?
To align with the new approach, care home providers are recommended to begin introducing digital auditing and reporting into their regular systems as the best way to submit information for monitoring trends.
Our recommendations include:
- Adopting a quality management system. This is not only a great way to keep track of important schedules, like risk assessments, safeguarding and medicines, but also contributes valuable evidence for the CQC and care provider to monitor.
- Training, onboarding and mentoring for care staff. With many care homes already using paper-based records, it can be hard to break embedded habits — or introduce new ways of working. By bringing in a third-party care consultant, care workers and care management teams can be given comprehensive training from a trusted, outside perspective for sustainable results.
- Creating more opportunities for communication. One of the key aspects in the new CQC regulations is care home staff and resident experience. This makes organising regular one-to-one sessions between your team members, care managers and residents an effective way to discuss what areas of your care home service are performing well, or where there are areas of improvement. Engaging with this feedback can help care home staff feel more valued, as well as increase confidence from your residents and their loved ones in your social care service.
As expert care consultants, Fulcrum Care can help care providers, owners and management teams prepare for the upcoming CQC regulation changes, identifying the positives and areas of improvement of your care home to meet new requirements. From mock auditing, safeguarding, IPC checks, training, introducing digital systems and building stronger relationships with local authority partners, our team can help ensure your care home is prepared with up-to-date regulation knowledge.