How the Care Quality Commission can help you: care homes

With responsibility for regulating all the health and social care in England, including private and public services, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are the people to look to for information on the quality of any care home you might consider for yourself or a family member. The CQC has a range of powers that allow it to enforce changes and raise standards where it finds the quality of care is unacceptable. Taking the decision to look into residential care can be a stressful time. The CQC makes sure that all care providers are registered and graded and they meet the essential standards of quality and safety.

Choosing a care home that meets these standards can alleviate some of the stress of this process. The National Standards you should expect from any care home are:

–       To be respected, involved in your care and support, and told what’s happening at every stage.

–       To receive care, treatment and support that meets your needs.

–       To be safe.

–       To be cared for by staff with the right skills to do their jobs properly.

–       That the care provider routinely checks the quality of their services.

You can enter the details of any care home on the CQC website and view the results of the most recent checks. For example if you are looking for a residential home, look at the details on their website and then match this up with a search on the CQC site. In this instance the care home met all the standards when it was last inspected. Ruling out any homes that don’t meet the CQC’s standards is a good first step before you decide to arrange for a visit to a care home.

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care home
David Wright [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

What the standards mean in practice

When you visit a potential care home you’ll be able to talk to staff about how the care standards are put into practice in the home and see for yourself. Always rely on your own intuition and feelings when you enter a care home. Are you made to feel welcome? Are their clear communications about the values of the home? Are the residents busy with activities and hobbies? All of these things go to make up a picture of how good a care home is and whether it is the right place for you, your family member or loved one.

Being respected and involved in your care means being part of discussions around your treatment and changes that may be being suggested. You will be asked if you agree with any decisions that affect your life. The care should meet your needs and so there should be regular assessments to ensure that your cultural, social, spiritual and bodily needs are being fully met without prejudice or judgement.

Being safe means you should be protected from abuse and your human rights will be respected by staff. It also means that your health won’t be put at risk from infection and you’ll receive any medicine you need correctly. Staff will also be properly qualified for any task they are doing for you and there will be enough people to carry this out safely.

And finally your information will be kept confidential and you can complain if you feel that you need to and someone will be there to listen. When you visit a care home make sure you ask them to clearly explain how these standards will be met and put your mind at rest that you have found the best home with the right level of care.

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What do you think about the Care Quality Commission’s standards?