By Mick Feather, Care Business Manager at Citation (www.citation.co.uk)
From 6 October, the transitional regulatory approach began to be rolled out by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
In follow up to the emergency support framework developed in response to the pandemic, the transitional regulatory approach will bring together exist- ing methodologies with learnings from its COVID-19 response, and inspection activity will be more targeted and focused.
The CQC has been clear that it won’t be returning to ‘business-as-usual’ and has no immediate plans to return to a fixed timetable or frequency rules on inspecting.
On-site inspections will take place in a targeted way, depending on whether CQC believes you are not providing adequate care, or if services need more visits, such as in secure settings.
Having focused largely on managing the immediate risks from the COVID-19 pandemic, CQC will be broadening their monitoring approach to look at more areas where quality needs to improve.
Based on their existing KLOEs, the CQC will specifically target safety, people’s access to services, and leadership (though the CQC can still look at any, or all the KLOEs).
The new focused Key Lines of Enquiry not only cover medication and infection control in the safe key area but also highlight the importance of safeguarding, risk assessments, staff recruitment, staff training and staffing levels. These are directly related to Health and Safety and Employment Law and if not handled correctly can impact on the safety of service users.”
Information on your care service will be collected from a wide range of sources, including the inspector’s knowledge of your service, inspec- tion reports, and ratings.
Having initially reviewed the information they have on your care service, this will then be followed by a call which will take place by using Microsoft teams or by phone.
With that in mind, there has never been a more important time to consider how you can make your care business ‘virtually inspectable’ and recreate how inspections usually take place but in a virtual environment.
The CQC states that good digital records should be person-centred, accessible, legible, complete, up-to-date, always available and secure.
Businesses may find it helpful to use platforms to help with their preparedness and organisation for calls, such as CQC Pro which Citation clients use to collate evidence which they can easily show by sharing their screen.
The Well Led Key Lines of Enquiry focus on quality assurance and continuous improvement. How do you know what is going well and what needs improvement at any given moment in your service?
Feedback and experiences from those involved in your care service
will be central to the CQC’s approach. Citation clients in particular can also use CQC Pro and it’s survey tool, to easily send out surveys and gain valuable insights and trend analysis from the responses.
Examples of outstanding practices undertaken in September and October sessions include:
• Virtual training sessions, using platforms such as Skype, Facetime and Zoom, for families and residents
• Using interactive and fun social activities – such as quizzes and games – to communicate COVID-19 information, keeping residents up-to-date in an engaging way
• When the weather is not appropriate for outside visits, having large lounges with visitors and residents separated by Perspex screening
• To ensure correct washing temperature and to lower the risk of contamination, laundering of uniforms in the care settings
• Staff reimbursement for the purchasing of easy-clean footwear
However, care providers will not receive inspection reports and ratings akin to how inspections took place before COVID19.
Though best practice examples like the above will help prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in your care settings, infection prevention and control remains the most important.
With guidance and legislation frequently changing, care managers are increasingly having to wear many hats and HR, Employment Law and Health & Safety remain vitally important.
Care businesses may find it beneficial to receive outsourced support in these areas, to ensure they are overseen by confident and competent people.
Citation in particular supports more than 40,000 businesses across the UK, with specific products produced bespoke for the sector to help take the stress out of compliance.