All posts tagged Care Quality Commission

What Good Care Looks Like

Every older person has the right to live safely, in a warm, clean environment and be treated with kindness and respect for their individuality.

Unfortunately despite some good care practice carried out by dedicated staff, the media has frequently highlighted the poor care and shocking treatment given to some of the most vulnerable people living in our communities.

Someone you know may need or be receiving care and support. They may be either living in their own home, a care home or somewhere else and you need to know what good person- centred care looks like, to root it out if you are looking for it or ensure they are receiving it already.

It is important that everyone feels able to say if they are concerned about someone else’s safety or the care they are receiving (or lack of it) who perhaps is unable to speak up. Some things to look out for that demonstrate good care are: iStock_000004809750Medium

  • People are treated with privacy, kindness, dignity and respect and seen as individuals before their disability, illness or needs. (“We cannot care for people unless we care about them and we cannot care about them, if we don’t know who they are”)
  • Care records are kept and include what is important to the person, what is important for the person and how they like to be supported
  • Needs and expectations are reviewed regularly with the individual and/or the people who know them well
  • Eating and drinking well and maintaining a healthy weight. (People’s likes and dislikes for food and drink are investigated. Drinks put within reach and people with a memory impairment reminded to drink)
  • The right medication is given at the right time and taking it observed
  • Well trained staff are available and training includes dementia care (80 per cent of people living in care homes have a form of dementia or severe memory problems)
  • The right sort of equipment is available
  • Meaningful and age appropriate social activities are available and informed by choice.
  • Relatives are made to feel welcome and included
  • Financial security is investigated
  • Care home is integrated with the local community (e.g. joint gardening or history
  • Leadership is strong and supportive. (Senior staff set a good example)

If you have a concern about someone else’s care and the danger is immediate dial 999. If the danger is not immediate, contact their Local Authority and ask to speak to the Adult Safeguarding Team.

If you are concerned about the quality of care provided by a care or nursing home or domiciliary provider, contact the Care Quality Commission on 0300 061 6161 or

Levels of Care Within West Sussex Revealed with an Interactive Tool

The differing levels of care in England have been revealed with the launch of a new interactive tool from Caring Homes, a UK care home provider. The tool uses data from over fifteen thousand checks, carried out by the CQC, to uncover the truth about standards of care in England.

CQC standards

The Care Quality Commission (CQC), a non-departmental government organisation, is responsible for regulating UK care in the following areas:

  • Care homes
  • Care given in your home
  • Dentists
  • Hospitals

The data used in the tool was sourced using these results via the Open Government Licence.

Key findings

Shropshire is crowned as the highest scoring county, with 94 per cent of its care homes passing CQC quality checks. On the other end of the scale, Nottinghamshire is exposed as the worst performing county, with 36 per cent of care homes failing inspections.

West Sussex

West Sussex was found have 288 care homes, which passed the CQC inspection, and 65 that haven’t, which gives it a 18 per cent pass rate. I was also one of top ten lowest scoring counties.

 The tool includes an interactive map element, which allows you to click on areas of England for a statistical report of care homes that have and have not passed CQC standards. The results include the county’s ranking, so you can make a rational judgement on the quality of care compared to other counties in England

Life expectancy and affluence

Astonishing results have also been revealed with the life expectancy and affluence elements of the tool. Surprisingly, those living in less affluent areas, such as Dorset, as more likely to live longer than those in better-off areas, such as Hertfordshire. In Dorset, where the mean salary is just £24,464, the average life expectancy is 85.3 years for females and 81.1 years for males. In Hertfordshire, where the mean salary is £33,831, males are expected to live to 80.4 years and females are expected to live to 83.8 years. In West Sussex  the average income is £26,453 and the average life expectancy is 81.6 years.

Simple search

The intuitive tool allows users to simply enter their chosen county into the search bar and uncover the truth about care in that area. The tool is likely to be used by those seeking care for loved ones who are looking for impartial advice. The simple elegance of the tool makes for fluid, intuitive searching where objective results are beautifully presented in seconds.

10 Steps To Finding The Perfect Care Home For Mum or Dad

The decision for a parent to move into a care home is life changing for them and causes your emotions to work over time. Your parent or other relative may be thinking about it because they are finding it difficult to cope, perhaps they are becoming frail and need help. It may be that their primary carer is no longer able to cope, which was the case with my own parents.

Wherever possible, care and support services will be available to help them continue to live at home. In some cases, however, it may be that residential or nursing home care is the right option for them.

When this happens I am often contacted by people feeling overwhelmed by having to find a care home for their Mum or Dad. Only yesterday I received a message from Gwen, which is pretty typical.

“I feel reasonably well informed, but there are so many different websites/ places to look. How people manage if they are on their own, or who have very little knowledge I don’t know- its such a stressful time for my sister and I. Can you help?”

Know what you are looking for

It is important to know what you are looking for and it takes time to find the right care home at what is often a very stressful time. This is because the need is usually urgent and the consequence of an accident, illness of the older person or their carer, and feeling under pressure to discharge your relative from hospital.I have therefore decided to share what we do at Relative Matters, to offer a road map for people who choose to do it on their own.Woman thumb up

1. Identify the type of home your parent needs. Do they need a care home for older people, a  care home with nursing, or specialist care home for people living with dementia? This blog post will help you with this. Best Tips For Choosing A Care Home

2. Geographical area – Where do they want to live? For example should it be near you or another family member?

3. Personal criteria – This is one of the most important steps. You need to identify what is important to your parent about the care environment. Every list of personal criteria will be different, as it needs to be tailored to the individual. To give you an idea, here is the list I drew up when we needed to find a care home for my own mother.

Example of personal criteria

  •  The location needed to be within 15 minutes travel time from their bungalow as my father was ill and couldn’t sit in a car for longer
  • Whilst she needed a specialist care home for people living with dementia, we needed one where people were not so severe it would frighten her.
  • En suite facilities were essential as Mum was a very private person.
  • Access had to be level in all areas as Mum’s mobility was very poor.
  • A clean bright and modern environment was important, as Mum and Dad’s taste in decor and furniture had always been unusually modern for their age.
  • A nice garden was important as Mum has she has always been interested in plants.
  • It needed to be pet friendly as Mum loves animals
  • Staff needed to be skilled in managing Mum’s severe anxiety and depression as well as her dementia

4. Check the home meets national care standards by using the Care Quality Commissions (CQC) site for your initial short list. Enter the type of care home you are looking for and the area/postcode.

5. Phone the homes on your initial short list to find out if they meet key elements of your criteria and have a vacancy

6. Arrange unannounced visits (so you see how it really is) to the homes that meet key elements of your criteria and have a vacancy.

7. Check out my blog post Signs of a Good Care Home to help you know what to look for

8. You should now have a tailored short-list of potential homes. Have a look at my post 10 Questions To Ask When Looking For A Care Home .Take your parent around no more than two homes at a time (older people find too much choice overwhelming). Make appointments for these as you will need to meet and speak to the Manager.

9. When your parent has chosen the home they like best, arrange for them to have a month’s trial to keep their options open.

10. Use an independent care consultancy like Relative Matters to do steps 1-6 and 7-9 as well if you live a long way away or have other demands on your time.

Share your experiences

I would be interested to hear your experiences and any tips you can pass on to help other people looking for a care home for their elderly Mum or Dad.

Responsibilities and the NHS – The A&E Abuse that's Killing our Ageing Population

Along with rights come responsibilities, right? The NHS is at breaking point for a number of reasons including an ageing population. There can be no doubt that the current healthcare system is unsustainable and we need to do something about it.

I feel passionate about involving people in every aspect of their care because I believe we know ourselves better than anyone else possibly could. I am also motivated to protect the rights of older people and take this responsibility very seriously.

Now as I mentioned earlier, rights come with responsibilities and I am on a mission to help people become more aware of what those responsibilities are.

The NHS is at breaking point for a number of reasons including an ageing population. There can be no doubt that the current healthcare system is unsustainable and we need to do something about it.

The following information provided by Age UK demonstrates the extent of the problem and helps us understand why we must start to take responsibility for our own health without delay.

Facts and figures about the ageing population

  • Nearly one in five people will currently live to see their 100th birthday
  • There are 10.3 million people aged 65 or over in the UK
  • By 2083, about one in three people will be over 60.
  • There are more pensioners than there are children under 16
  • The number of people over 85 is predicted to double in the next 20 years and nearly treble in the next 30.

With the growing number of older people many of whom have, or will have, long term, complex and multiple conditions, it is not surprising that we are experiencing longer waiting times to see our GP, have an operation and be treated at A & E departments.

Increase in use of A & E departments

Ambulance parked outside hospitalA survey undertaken last year by the Care Quality Commission found one in three patients claim they have spent more than four hours in hospital accident and emergency departments in England. And only the other week I read in our local paper about the massive increase in hospital A & E admissions in our hospitals.

This means A&E departments across the country are slowing down and people who need urgent medical care are not getting prompt treatment.

Reason for the increase in use of A & E departments

The reason for this is that many people are using accident and emergency departments for non emergencies, minor ailments and as an extension of their doctor’s surgery. A &E staff have to balance the need to deal with genuine medical emergencies and serious injuries, with the needs of people who are less seriously ill, which results in long waiting times.

It is understandable that if we are worried about our health, we want to get treatment and reassurance. However unless we are seriously ill or have had an accident, there are alternatives which are more appropriate, more convenient and quicker than heading for our nearest A & E department such as seeking advice from NHS Direct, a pharmacist, or making an appointment to see our GP.

Playing our part in reducing demand on A & E departments

It is our NHS and if we want our hospital A & E departments to deliver prompt professional medical treatment when we need it, we must play our part and only seek their help when absolutely necessary and having considered other alternatives.

How to Create a Personalised Care Plan

Do you worry that if your Mum had to go into a care home, they wouldn’t understand how she likes to take her tea, wouldn’t realise she has a favourite bed jacket etc? It is often the little things that make the biggest difference when it comes to providing care and support for an elderly person and making sure these things are documented in their care plan will help ensure they are not forgotten and give you peace of mind.

If your elderly relative requires a care service, either in their own home or a care home, the provider is required  to make a care plan by  the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who are responsible for ensuring national care standards are met.  From my personal and professional experience, this often ends up being a list of what a person needs. For example a good night’s sleep and the Why? When? and How? get forgotten. For example, think about how we like to settle for the night? Most of us like our pillows in a certain way, to have a drink and to feel fresh. If we were elderly we may like a reassuring chat before we go to sleep, the closeness of our hand being held, we may like to sleep on a certain side, and to have a hot water bottle to ease the pain in our back. We may prefer a duvet to blankets and so on. I think you get my drift!

Before a care plan can be produced it is important for have an assessment of your relative’s needs to inform their care plan. Local Authorities (LAs) are required to provide a Community Care Assessment for people who are vulnerable by way of age, disability or infirmity, regardless of whether they qualify for social care funding. So if you don’t have an assessment already you need to contact Adult Services at your relative’s LA and ask for one. Make sure you also ask for a written copy! If your relative is being funded by the NHS (Continuing Healthcare) ask the CHC nurse for a copy of their assessment instead.

Person-centred care planning should:

  • Enter the elderly person’s world and imaginatively consider the situation from their perspective.
  • Include the things that are important to them. This is especially important for people living with dementia, as they may be unable to give detailed information to carers themselves.
  • Be produced in partnership with the elderly person or if they lack capacity, with someone who knows and cares about them, such as a partner, relative or friend.
  • Be mindful of the way the person is communicated with and give them time. It is important for carers to be sure that the person understands the message and that  time is allowed to think through what has been said.
  • Provide the person with alternatives from which to choose but not too many, as it will confuse them

Busy care providers usually produce a care plan as part of their admission process or when planning service implementation. They tend to use their own template as a framework, so you will need to make them aware that you want to be included in the process. If the care plan is already in place tell them you would like to personalise your relative’s care and include the things that are important to them. This is exactly what I did for my own mother who is in a care home.

There are many different things that you would want to include for your own elderly loved one’s care plan. This is what I love about people. They are all different. There will be nearly eight billion of us by the end of 2012 and everyone unique with their own genetic make-up. How cool is that!

So keep thinking about your elderly loved one and the things that are important to them. Always keep them involved and at the centre of the planning process and they will have a great personalised care plan to guide their carers. Don’t forget to review it from time to time, as needs and expectations will change.