What the CQC’s regulatory changes mean for your care home

In light of the pandemic, the CQC took the difficult decision to stop routine inspections of care homes, instead only reviewing homes where there may be a risk to safety and inspections to monitor infection, prevention and control (IPC). As the repercussions of the pandemic for the care industry continue to develop, an updated guide for how they regulate the sector has been published – here’s what the CQC’s regulatory changes mean for your care home.

Adapting in response to the pandemic

Although the CQC has had to adapt the way that it carries out its regulatory duty during the pandemic, the body insists: ‘Our core purpose to ensure that the public receive safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care has remained at the centre of our activities – and this will continue.’

This has meant that the CQC has had to narrow its focus, predominantly on homes that need urgent attention, ensuring that all homes are equipped to deal with the pandemic and have measures in place to minimise the spread of a possible coronavirus infection.

In response to the changing care industry pressures, the CQC has announced a shift in its regulation that replaces an emphasis in on-site inspections as the main way for formulating the ratings of different care homes, with more attention to flexibility. To achieve this, the regulator is developing new tools which will ‘help them inspect quality and risk proportionately’. This will help the public and service providers to work collaboratively with the CQC and accelerate improvements in care.

What are the CQC saying about adult social care?

For the time being, the CQC is still going to focus its attention on care homes where there is a risk to  resident safety, however they will also be undertaking reviews regarding:

  • IPC: To ensure that all care homes are compliant with measures that will help reduce the spread of coronavirus in care homes
  • IPC within community: To promote COVID-secure practices within community settings, such as assisted living
  • Inspecting discharge facilities for COVID-positive patients: To ensure that patients who no longer require hospitalisation can safely return to a care home
  • Assess homes where it may enable more capacity in the care system: This will include homes that are not yet registered.

Concern over Do Not Attempt Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (DNACPR)

The CQC has also expressed concern over the use of DNACPR’s during the pandemic. In a recent report they found that DNACPR’s have been used within the pandemic without the involvement of the individuals in care, or their families.

To ensure that your home is compliant with distributing DNACPRs, a need has been highlighted for:

  • Information, training and support
  • A national approach to advance care planning
  • Improved oversight and assurance.

What do the CQC’s regulatory changes mean for care home providers?

If your care home currently holds a rating of good or outstanding, it seems unlikely that you’ll get a visit from the CQC anytime soon – unless it’s an inspection of your home’s IPC measures. If your home requires improvement, or is inadequate, it is more likely that you’ll fall into the CQC’s category of inspections for homes where public safety may be at risk or not.

Regardless of whether your care home is likely to be visited under the new protocol it is good practice to ensure that your home is fully prepared for an inspection, as the CQC could change its criteria at short notice. With coronavirus restrictions gradually easing in line with the government’s schedule, it seems likely that the CQC may see a return to regular inspections in the near future, emphasising the need for your home to be fully compliant, regardless of rating.

To ensure that your care home is prepared for any eventuality, we strongly suggest being proactive in managing your compliance and limiting the possibility of surprise for when the CQC do visit your home.

 If you would like expert advice on how you can ensure that your care home is prepared for a visit from the CQC, please get in touch. 

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