We will continue to regulate care and hospital locations over the coming months to support organisations as they prepare for winter and provide assurances to the public that locations are safe and well prepared, including for people who are discharged from hospital with a Covid-positive status.
Our infection prevention and control (IPC) inspections are already being rolled out across care locations in England and we will share the results of those inspections on our website in a simple and easy to access layout so that the public can be assured across a number of key criteria that a care location has an effective approach to infection prevention control. Over 400 IPC inspections reports have now been published on our website and from today the public will be able to have an accessible overview. In our IPC inspections we look to see that:
- Adequate PPE is available for staff and residents to control infection safely
- Staff are properly trained to deal with outbreaks and the proper procedures are in place
- Shielding and social distancing is being complied with
- Layout of premises, use of space and hygiene practice promote safety.
Ted Baker, Chief inspector of Hospitals said: "CQC is exploring with individual hospital providers how they have addressed the risks of cross infection and have appropriate assurance that they consistently meet the standards set out in guidance. We will share good practice where we find it and will seek further assurance where necessary, including targeted inspections. We will use our enforcement powers if we find unsatisfactory practice that puts people receiving care at risk.
"This also applies to controlling the spread of Covid between different services. It is essential that information regarding patients’ Covid status is shared before being discharged from hospital and in a timely manner so that all health and care professionals involved can make an informed decision about where their care needs can best be met and are able to take steps to protect themselves."
We have completed over 400 IPC inspections in Adult Social Care (ASC) already both to capture good practice and to follow up in places where we believe there may be risks to residents. We will also be conducting IPC checks on all inspections in future and are committed to another 500 care home IPC inspections by the end of November.
We will be carrying out further inspections in Hospitals in addition to those in ASC which have already begun.
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care said: "We’re committed to ensuring safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care and are working with the Department of Health and Social Care and others to support the care system through winter.
"By monitoring and inspecting these care locations, we will help to ensure appropriate and personalised care for those who are being discharged from hospital with a confirmed Covid diagnosis, as well as supporting providers to protect against the spread of Covid in care homes."
Most care providers that we have inspected have demonstrated good practice which we will continue to highlight through regular publications - however where we have concerns, we can and will take swift action. This could include publicly giving a provider actions that they must take, restricting a service’s operation or in cases of significant concern, taking action which would lead to the closure of a service. All of these are designed to ensure providers act quickly to improve the quality of care they are delivering.
We recognise that many families and people will have had a terrible time, being unable to visit and spend important time with their loved ones for many months, and how this has had a significant impact on mental health for many people. When thinking about visiting (both people coming in and going out), providers must follow Government guidelines, give sufficient weight to local risks and advice from their Director of Public Health, give consideration to the home environment and all decisions stay under review as circumstances change.
However, we do expect care homes to discuss visitation as part of individual care plans including considering whether residents have exceptional circumstances to consider in those plans, and we will look for these on inspection. Person centred care has never been more important and recognising that part of people’s identity and wellbeing comes from their relationships is critical. Meeting people’s holistic needs means an individualised approach.
Many of the challenges faced by care locations are at system level, and we will continue, through our Provider Collaboration Rreview (PCR) programme, to review how people move between services and identify where there are blockages in the system so that issues are explored nationally and locally.
It’s now even more important for health and care services to work together to deliver care – to meet the needs of both the local population and of each individual person; focusing on what matters to the public, and to local communities when they access, use, and move between care services.
Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care at the Care Quality Commission, said: "The speed and scale of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the dedication, creativity and innovation of providers, as well as the impact of good working relationships within a local area on outcomes for people using services.
"The Provider Collaboration Reviews are helping to identify where this has worked well and have brought into focus themes and learning that can inform planning for this winter and the continuing pandemic."
We will continue to publish a regular update through our insight reports and develop our approach, including the development of our new strategy, in line with new research and evidence to ensure that people receive high quality, safe care.
As well as sharing best practice through Provider Collaboration Reviews, we are encouraging innovation in controlling infections and providing safe, quality care.
We will prioritise registration of providers who are able to raise the bar in the quality of care and in finding ways to protect those in care, whilst adhering to the criteria for safe infection control.