5 tips for passing a CQC inspection
As within any industry, if nobody keeps tabs on what companies are doing it can lead to all sorts of mishaps, mischief and maladies. Thankfully for the care industry there is the CQC. The Care Quality Commission are tasked with carrying out checks on health and social care services (which includes care homes, hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, and so on) in order to make sure that patients, residents and customers are well looked after and that the business is running in a correct manner and to acceptable standards of care.
While the CQC do not have the power to shut down a business, they do have the power to enforce regulations and bring prosecutions – so an inspection is not to be taken lightly.
Fortunately, for 99% of reputable businesses this shouldn’t be a worry – the CQC aren’t actively looking to cause issues for business owners; they want to see the industry thrive as much as you do, so they will only take drastic action in the most serious of cases.
So, if you have a CQC inspection on the horizon (sometimes they will pre-warn you of an impending visit), or if you’re worried about a surprise visit, what can you do to ensure you pass with flying colours, and what should you expect in the first instance?
Firstly, why would the CQC even instigate an inspection? Well, there are two reasons the CQC might give for visiting a smaller business:
1) To look at something they’re concerned about that might have been raised through their monitoring work; or
2) If there is a change in the care provider’s circumstances, such as a takeover or merger.
What can I expect?
At the start of an inspection, the inspector will explain who the team are, the scope and purpose of their investigation, and how their findings will be communicated.
You can expect the CQC inspection team to look to speak to people who use your business’ services, either individually or in groups, in order to determine any areas of concern or any bright spots of note. Additionally, they will also speak to staff members at all levels to discover how the practice runs on a daily basis. It is important to remember that this is not an interrogation – they are looking to pass all businesses and being honest and forthright with them will help to make your business stronger in the long run (not to mention they will take a dim view if they think staff and/or residents have been coached or intimidated into giving false or scripted answers).
5 key things to get right
So, now you know what to expect, what are the key areas to look out for to ensure you meet criteria and get the pass you deserve?
1) Are they safe?
It is important that both patients/residents and staff are safe from harm and abuse. The inspection team will speak to residents and observe practices to make sure that harm is unlikely to come to those in care.
2) Are they effective?
Simply providing a service is not enough – the CQC want to see that the level of service on offer is of a high, effective standard. This includes the care, treatment and support, making sure that it achieves good outcomes and helps people to maintain quality of life.
3) Are they caring?
Without people, the care home industry would fall apart – so making sure that those people are treated with respect, dignity and compassion is of paramount importance. The team will look to discover whether staff treat those in their care with compassion, kindness and respect.
4) Are they responsive to people’s needs?
Not every resident is the same, and therefore their needs are different and varied to the next person. That’s why the CQC deem it important for your care to be responsive to these varying needs. Ensure you offer a service that is tailored to the individual, not the average resident or patient.
5) Are they well-led?
Finally, as with most great teams, the leadership is critical. Without great leadership the rest of the operation can fall apart, so it is key that the ship has a good captain. This doesn’t mean just keeping staff in line and working effectively, the CQC are concerned with seeing that you promote an open and fair culture that encourages learning and innovation among your workforce.
In addition to these five key questions that the CQC will look to answer, there are five more key areas that are likely to pop up on your assessment (out of 16 total areas). These are:
1) Cleanliness and infection control
With the average care home resident being of an older persuasion, and therefore more susceptible to infection and illness, cleanliness is of vital importance. Ensure you have regular, trackable cleaning practices in place in your care home.
As before, many residents tend to be elderly, which can bring mobility problems, so people should be cared for in an environment that is safe and accessible for everyone.
The CQC will want to see that the way in which you distribute, manage and control resident’s medicines is prudent, efficient and effective. Keeping track of who gets what and keeping an eye on their health in relation to medicines is something that you need to be aware of in order to get the nod of approval on your assessment.
4) A diverse team
While it isn’t a requirement that all of your staff members need to be full to the eyeballs with qualifications and degrees, it is important that your workforce contains the necessary mix of people who are qualified to undertake certain jobs. This means having nurses and doctors who have the appropriate qualifications and experience to administer care, as well as someone on the business side who is qualified to run the business effectively.
5) Effective monitoring
Finally, while it is great to provide a good service, where many businesses fall down is not being able to keep track of what goes on within the company on a day-to-day basis. Having good systems in place to help monitor the health, welfare and safety of people in your care is paramount. Therefore, ensure you display quality checking systems – it’ll not only help you to pass any inspection, but will make the job of running your business to a high level much easier.
So, there you have it. Keep an eye out for these important areas and issues and you’ll be on your way to passing with flying colours.
If you’re still unsure about what to expect, or simply want more information on CQC inspections, you can find out more on the CQC website - www.cqc.org.uk BACK TO ARTICLES