West Dartmoor u3a held its AGM on Zoom, followed immediately by a talk given by Sue Kelley, who has for ten years worked through an agency for the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of all care services in England. The CQC is always interested in hearing from people who require care for themselves or those known to them.
Herself disabled and a wheelchair user, she interviews care service users. Sometimes she is accompanied at these interviews by specialists such as GPs.
The CQC carries out inspections of all care homes at least annually and more frequently if circumstances require it.
Five aspects are considered during every inspection:
1) Are all residents safe and free from any form of abuse?
2) Is appropriate and effective care provided and is there effective liaison with carers?
3) Is the environment caring and compassionate? Are residents asked what they want and are there any problems of communication with carers whose first language is not English?
4) Are any complaints dealt with expeditiously?
5) Is the management well led? Are proper references taken of staff, and are they well trained and encouraged in their professional development?
After inspection each establishment is rated in one of four ways:
1) Outstanding. This is quite rare.
2) Good. This is very common.
3) Requires improvement. Suggestions for such improvement are offered.
4) Inadequate. Action is taken in such cases; for example, a nursing home could be downgraded to a residential home.
There is one problem: the CQC can only interview those who ask and feedback from the public is scarce. It therefore appeals for information on the public’s experience of care services. Such feedback can be given anonymously and goes to CQC inspectors, enabling them to identify patterns which can be used to support or trigger inspections. Information can be given online.
The link to the website is: Care Quality Commission – Tell Us and the email address is email@example.com.
Alternatively telephone 03000 616161.
To obtain care information there are several steps one can take:
1) Look at reports of local agencies.
2) Ask homes or other care provision for recent inspection reports.
3) Personally visit a home in which one is interested.
The speaker gave advice for such visits. Is there interaction among residents and between residents and staff, or are the residents left isolated? Are there enough staff? One should not be taken in by attractive furniture or views; sometimes these are accompanied by lack of care.
Residents should be receiving enough to eat and drink and physical care as required, including dentistry. One should be clearly told what is provided.
Any complaints should be raised first with the care provider before contacting the CQC.
The speaker accompanied her talk with a visual presentation containing summaries of the points she was making. In answer to a question at the end, she said that the CQC received its funding from central government.
A message from Sue Kelley, our speaker, after her talk
Why we want to hear from You
The Care Quality Commission’s job is to make sure that health and social care services in England provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care that services provide.
To do the job well, it is important that people like you tell us about your experiences of care and whether you think services are meeting the fundamental standards of care you have a right to expect.
By providing us with this information, you will help us improve the overall quality of care in England. You will also help us prevent poor care and abuse happening to others in the future.
What we want to Know
We want to know about poor care, abuse and neglect, but we welcome information about good care.
The information could be about:
*Care you have experienced yourself
*Care for others such as friends and relatives
* Care you’ve seen or know about because of your job or voluntary work.
As David has advised, you can contact the CQC about your experiences in the following ways:
Complete the online form at Tell Us
Email at Tellus@cqc.org.uk, quoting reference ‘Tell us about your care.’
Telephone on 03000 616161, quoting reference ‘Tellus about your care’.