…

Preparing for an external inspection when running a UK care business

A care business owner needs to be ready for inspections at any time and needs to be confident that the CQC standards for care are met.

The last two years have thrust care businesses into the spotlight and shown us all how invaluable their standards are. With the ever-constant chance of inspections to ensure those standards are maintained, business owners in this sector need to be ready in many different ways. Here, we outline how you can prepare for the best possible outcome for you, your care home and most importantly, your clients.

The care profession

There are many different types of care business owners across the UK, from residential care homes to specialist domiciliary care businesses. If you are a care business owner, you will, of course, have prioritised high standards from the start. Those high standards will be checked regularly by the regulatory bodies in your industry, whether that is the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or the specific Care Inspectorate operating in your region. These inspections are necessary to maintain good performance, but business managers can and should prepare for them. The CQC provide a number of guidelines for care homes. Here we look at some of the most important points.

People first when planning

Your business is all about people. This should be at the forefront of the planning for any inspection and your ongoing ethos. A good care business owner will ensure a people-centric approach is managed at all times. This is the nature of the profession, but something that you can still be proactive about. Create strategies to support your clients, ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity, provide training and support where needed to maintain this approach. Communicate with employees and clients’ relatives to ensure CQC standards of care are being met and ask what they might be looking for.

Update policies and plans

All care plans need to be regularly updated, good practices documented, and improvements/assessments written up and recorded. Care needs to be constantly measured against the most up to date guidance. Involve specialists when needed to ensure all administration(accreditations, insurance, legal documents etc) is managed, with documents produced and stored safely and securely. A robust quality assurance system is key to continue to monitor your service and be able to demonstrate that you are doing so. Consider ISO Certification to support the highest standards in your organisation and manage best practice approaches with all of your team and suppliers. Cleaning schedules, laundry, logistics, rotations, equipment, suppliers all need to be logged and kept up to date.

A creative approach to the future

Demonstrate that you are constantly looking to the future: have creative approaches to solve problems, provide better care, or attract new recruits or clients. Always look at how your clients and their families can be encouraged and supported in living more active lives where possible. Remember the core services your team provide at every visit: conversation, food, walks and constantly discuss and research how to make these elements of the day to day as varied and interesting as possible – it will benefit your clients and your staff. Make this part of your vision and values and involve everyone in the process.

Employee care

Your caregivers are the heart and soul of your business. Ensuring they feel safe, supported and secure in their role is vital. A thorough recruitment and training process is essential to ensure you have the best possible team. An ongoing, proactive schedule of assessments and reviews needs to be managed, with employees given a voice. Carry out regular workplace observations and audits to ensure they are trained and performing to the right level. Listen to your team and provide them with a culture that respects them and acts on their needs as well as their clients’ needs. Embed a robust set of values, make sure they are followed through at every level and communicated to your team at all times.

Partnerships

The care business does not come without its fair share of challenges, so it’s important to build strong relationships with other care professionals such as GPs, occupational therapists, district nurses and local authority safeguarding teams. Organisations working outside the health and care professions can also offersupport; local community groups, religious organisations could all be relevant to your clients and provide extra support. Involve and empower relatives and friends as much as possible. By creating a strong, integrated local network, your clients will benefit from the best service, and you and your team will have the best support, advice and job satisfaction.

Conclusion

Inspections are an intrinsic part of the care profession, and rightly so. At the heart of this business are the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society, who deserve a professional care system that provides them with compassion, care and dignity in their home or a care home setting. By following the above practices, you can ensure you are already doing this – and ready for an external audit as and when the time comes

Tags
UK SME Risk Report 

Download our first ever UK SME Risk Report to learn more about the key risks you should be planning for.