We all want to provide great person-centered care. And that means working together to make sure care is personalised, safe and seamless. A mock CQC inspection can help to make sure you’re compliant with the latest regulations affecting the service user experience and on track to achieve an Outstanding rating.
A recent NHS report into the service user experience defined several key elements of care. Let’s take a look at 5 core areas you can optimise to give your service users Outstanding care.
1. Seamless primary and community support
Caring for vulnerable people is a team effort. The CQC expects Outstanding organisations to work well with partners and within the community. When you have multiple service users to think about, aligning with a single primary care network (PCN) is a must. This will not only help provide continuity of care, but also encourage strong working relationships that are essential for successful outcomes.
For home care, make sure rounds are led by a clinician with strong assessment and clinical decision-making skills. Service users’ needs and medication should be regularly reviewed either from relevant PCN records or in person, and minutes from these meetings can be presented as evidence to the CQC.
Whatever type of care you deliver, service users must have personalised care and support plans developed in line with their wishes, or after consulting with their family if mental capacity is impaired.
To ensure seamless support at your care home, service users must have the same level of access to emergency care as people living in their own homes.
2. Multidisciplinary team (MTD) support, coordinated health and social care
This refers to the team of people delivering care and the wider health and social care network. Best practices for MTDs include combining risk assessment processes with clinical judgement to organise home care rounds. Take into account service users who are at higher risk of unplanned hospitalisation, those who need support to take medication at specific times of day, and those who need meals prepared, for example.
Your MTD should meet weekly to identify and action any issues that have arisen and designate tasks. Again, minutes taken will provide evidence of regular meetings to the CQC, and the team should have full access to relevant shared care records in compliance with privacy and information sharing protocols.
A dedicated care coordinator can provide support to service users and carers who need help navigating multiple different health, care and voluntary services.
3. Preventing falls; rehabilitation and building better strength and balance
According to the NHS report, around a third of people aged 65-plus have a fall every year, rising to 50% in those aged over 80. Falls can, of course, be painful, and also risk disability, loss of independence and a lower quality of life.
You should have policies in place to ensure falls risk assessments are carried out and managed, including how to safely lift the service user and when to call for additional support. Your staff should be trained in how to assess a fall and support the individual, and care home residents should have access to local falls specialist services as required.
Two major contributing factors to falls are low muscle strength and poor balance. Encouraging service users to enjoy regular physical activity will significantly reduce the chances of a fall. Many organisations fail to get the recommended number of service users to take part in muscle-strengthening exercises, so this is an opportunity to differentiate your care and achieve that Outstanding rating.
A good rehabilitation and enablement programme should help promote independence, decrease the length of time spent in hospital and reduce the chance of readmission.
4. Providing high-quality specialist care, including end-of-life, mental health and dementia care
When you’re putting together personalised care plans, you need to be able to identify service users who are approaching end of life in the next 12 months. End-of-life care should take account of the physical and emotional changes experienced by service users and their family, carers and wider community.
There are IT systems, such as the electronic palliative care coordination system, that can help you manage end-of-life care and share relevant information to ensure personalised support.
To promote good mental health, your service users should have a range of stimulating activities every day. Nutritious meals and regular exercise will help maintain a healthy lifestyle, which can also have a positive effect on mental health.
Service users with mental health issues must have access to a range of therapies and specialist support services and their needs should be recorded in their personalised care plan. Again, good record keeping is a must to show the CQC that your care is Outstanding.
Finally, dementia is on the rise, especially among people living in care homes. Service users with dementia can present with a range of challenging behaviours as well as struggle to communicate their needs.
Despite growing numbers, dementia is often underdiagnosed, so being proactive and having a systematic approach to assessing service users will help ensure they get the help they need as quickly as possible.
5. Technology and data best practices
To give service users the best possible care and have the records to prove it, you need fit-for-purpose technology and processes for data sharing that ensure only authorised personnel have access to sensitive information.
Analytics, AI and machine learning may sound alien in a care setting, but embracing new technology can help you innovate. And the CQC loves innovation.
For example, health analytics tools can help you identify which service users are at risk of unplanned hospital admissions, and smart sensors can prevent falls. Technology can process huge amounts of data and calculate risks more accurately, leaving your team free to focus on spending time with service users.
Video conferencing technology can also be really useful to connect with health professionals remotely. Digital assessments can reduce unnecessary hospital trips and call outs, which are stressful for everyone.
Outstanding organisations provide training to staff to help develop strong IT skills and confidence using technology.
Your CQC rating is important, but what really matters is the experience of your service users. So who better to ask if you’re on track than the service users themselves?
The one-to-one nature of care means you have to be proactive about capturing feedback. People won’t come to you to say you’re giving them great care, so make time to reach out.
To get an accurate picture of your services, you’ll need to speak to a whole range of service users. This can be tricky with people living with dementia or communication difficulties, but it’s important to find out their views.
Talking to people face-to-face will yield better results and you can learn a lot from body language. Your carers will also have valuable insights into the service user experience and may be more candid about sharing them.
If you need help assessing and improving your service user experience, mock CQC inspection services from Care Skilled are a great place to start. Call our expert team on 0333 444 5344 or email email@example.com for more information.