In this series of blogs, we’re breaking down how to go from a Good to Outstanding CQC rating in a number of areas. Nutrition sits under the effective key line of enquiry (KLOE).
When the CQC rates how effective you are, it wants to see how you achieve good outcomes for service users and promote a high quality of life. A mock CQC inspection is a great way to assess your current rating and find areas for improvement so you can boost your score before the real thing.
For most of us, what we eat has a big impact on our overall wellbeing, both physically and mentally. As a care provider, you’re responsible for making sure service users have a balanced diet and stay hydrated. But what does it take to be outstanding when it comes to nutrition?
A varied and balanced diet
Starting with the basics, the CQC wants to know service users are eating and drinking well. Use menus as evidence that you provide a variety of options they can choose from every day. You should have large print and picture formats available to make sure everyone can read them easily.
Getting creative with food is rewarded. Think about including meals from different cultures, how food is used for celebrations, and how you can present it in an attractive way. Make sure meals look, taste and smell good.
Part of delivering person-centric care is involving service users and their families in meal plans. Carers should be aware of individual preferences and be flexible to service users’ needs where possible. Care plans should demonstrate that nutritional advice has been taken into account.
Cultural, religious and ethical beliefs in relation to food are important. Respect individuals’ wishes. Service users who require home cooking should be matched with a carer with appropriate cooking skills, whether that’s cooking sausages and mash or whipping up a curry.
Remember that mealtimes can be social. Do you welcome service users’ friends and families to stay during meals?
Meeting specialist requirements
When service users move into your care home or sign up for home care, make sure their weight is recorded and monitored and any specialist needs are assessed.
It can be challenging to keep service users with conditions such as dementia hydrated and well fed. The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ 2017 National Audit of Dementia recommends having a variety of foods available around the clock. That includes snacks outside of set mealtimes, finger food, and specially adapted crockery and cutlery.
Service users with dysphagia should be referred to healthcare professionals for advice on how to manage their disorder. A clear nutrition and hydration pathway should be set out in their care plan, and they should be assigned a carer with the right level of training to help them eat and drink.
It’s your job to recognise which conditions may have specialist requirements, seek out guidance and make sure it’s implemented correctly.
Remember that oral hygiene goes hand-in-hand with nutrition. Staff should be able to describe to an inspector how they assess oral hygiene and how dentures are kept safe and clean. Make sure you keep a record of dentist appointments to show the CQC that you encourage good oral hygiene.
Bring in the experts
To make sure you’ve correctly applied advice and guidance on nutrition, consults experts in the field. They can also check that your staff are fully trained in line with the latest regulations. Keep minutes of relevant meetings to provide supporting evidence to the CQC.
A mock CQC inspection is a great way to find out if you have any knowledge gaps that could impact your rating. We can also assess your documentation to make sure you have sufficient evidence that your processes are compliant. With your mock CQC inspection results to hand, you can then make the changes you need to achieve that all-important outstanding rating.
Find out more about CQC inspections and our mock CQC inspection services.