All You Need To Know About Care Home Compliance

If you are a care home provider or the regulated manager of a care home, you probably already know how important it is to be compliant with the CQC regulations and standards, as well as how challenging it could be to wrap your head around all the legal requirements. To help you achieve care home compliance, we’ve prepared this detailed guide, including a wide range of compliance training courses available online. 

CQC Requirements

In England, the regulatory body for adult social and health care is the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It is an independent service that ensures that all essential care requirements and standards are met by care providers across the country. Non-compliance can result in criminal prosecution and thousands of pounds in fines. 

The regulations imposed by the CQC cover all key areas of care, including the maintenance of adequate health and safety standards, hiring qualified and skilled care workers and ensuring that those in care are treated with respect in line with their individual needs. Care facilities are regularly inspected by the CQC and ranked according to their most recent results. 

To ensure that your care home achieves compliance, you should always stay up to date with the most recent CQC regulations

The Fundamental CQC Standards

To achieve care home compliance with CQC requirements, every care provider must deliver services that meet the fundamental CQC standards below:

  • Person-centred care: Care services must be tailored to the individual needs of each patient 
  • Dignity and respect: Every person receiving care should be treated with respect and dignity. A care worker must treat them as equals, offer them privacy when they need it and ensure that they have the necessary support to remain involved in their community
  • Consent: It is mandatory that the person in care gives their consent before the administration of any treatment
  • Safety: All risk of harm must be avoided and all care and treatment offered must be safe. To achieve care home compliance, all personnel must have the necessary qualifications to assess the health and safety risks associated with their role
  • Safeguarding from abuse: No person should ever be subject to abuse while in care, including being neglected, degraded, restrained unnecessarily, or deprived from their freedom 
  • Food and drink: Healthy amounts of food and drink must be provided
  • Premises and equipment: Everything in the care setting, including the equipment, must be secure and maintained in a clean state and good working condition 
  • Complaints: Everyone has the right to complain about the care they are given if they feel so inclined. It is the care provider’s responsibility to put in place a complaint procedure and to follow through with every complaint
  • Good governance: The care provider is legally obliged to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and standard 
  • Staffing: Care workers must have the appropriate training, qualifications and experience to provide quality care services. It is up to the care provider to train and support their personnel where needed
  • Fit and proper staff: The employment of new staff in a care setting must include a rigorous background check, as well as high requirements for qualifications and experience 
  • Duty of candour: The care provider must be fully transparent about any treatment administered, as well as any mistakes or complications that occur under their care 
  • Display of ratings: Every care provider is required to display their CQC rating in a visible location and provide online access to their most recent CQC reports 

CQC Inspections

The Care Quality Commission carries out regular inspections to ensure that care homes maintain a standard of services that complies with the CQC standards and regulations. Each inspection focuses on five essential elements:

  • Safety
  • Effectiveness
  • Leadership
  • Standard of care
  • Responsiveness to residents’ needs

Once the CQC inspection is complete, each care home will be given one of the below ratings based on their results:

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Needs Improvement
  • Inadequate

Where improvements are needed to achieve the highest compliance rating, the CQC will make suggestions. For care homes that fail to achieve compliance, special measures will be put in place and some may even be removed from the CQC register altogether. 

The CQC rating of each care facility is publicly available so those looking for a suitable care home can make informed decisions. 

The frequency of CQC inspections is influenced by the rating of the facility, as well as by comments and feedback from residents and their family members. 

What Happens If I Don’t Comply With CQC Regulations

Achieving CQC compliance is a must for any care home, as it shows that their health and safety standards are of the highest level. Non-compliance is illegal and can result in financial repercussions and/or a criminal conviction. Here are five ways a care home can fail their CQC compliance and the penalties for each non-compliance:

  1. Not registering with the CQC in the first place: Registering with the CQC is mandatory for any adult care provider in England and failing to do so can result in a fine of up to £50,000 or prosecution 
  2. Lacking Quality and Safety Standards: If you fail to comply with the CQC standards, you will be issued official warnings. Ignoring those can lead to substantial fines and a criminal conviction. 
  3. Failure to register for every regulated activity provided: Treatment and care activities in care homes are regulated by the CQC and the care provider is required by law to register for each activity. Providing healthcare services that are not registered can result in a criminal conviction or a large fine. 
  4. Making false statements to the CQC: It is illegal for a care provider to make false statements regarding the regulated activities they provide and the environment in which they provide their services. It is also a criminal offence to provide false information in the CQC application. Making false statements could make you subject to up to £5000 in fines. 
  5. Non-compliance with CQC registration conditions: To be registered with the CQC, a care provider must meet certain conditions not only at the time of making their application but as long as they wish to provide healthcare services. Failure to comply at any point could result in cancelling their CQC registration and losing their right to offer care services. Care home managers who face non-compliance charges can be fined up to £5000.

How to Achieve CQC Compliance

Achieving regulatory compliance with all CQC regulations and standards may sound like a daunting task. This is why it’s important to ensure that all necessary steps are taken internally to provide a compliant service of the highest standard. 

Internal Audits

To ensure that your care home is ready for the next CQC inspection, you may want to consider regularly carrying out internal compliance audits. Those help demonstrate to CQC inspectors that the registered care home manager has efficient risk management processes in place to ensure compliance (as per the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014: Regulation 17).

For an audit to become an effective risk management tool, the auditor must comply with the values of trust, integrity, discretion, confidentiality and ethical conduct. The auditor should also have sufficient knowledge and expertise of all procedures and policies that should be followed to achieve CQC compliance. 

Before an internal audit takes place, the registered manager of the care home should identify the areas that need to be audited and put in place an audit schedule that their team is aware of. As part of the audit, the auditor will conduct interviews with all staff members to establish whether the correct processes are followed on a day-to-day basis. 

The goal of the internal audit is to evaluate all activities and uncover any reputational, operational, compliance, legal, cybersecurity and strategic risks to the organisation. Once those are identified, the auditor can provide suggestions for risk control measures and improvements to be implemented. This helps the management team raise the level of their care services. 

Registered Manager Qualification

Every care home in England must be registered as a care provider with the CQC either as a sole trader, a partnership or an organisation. Whatever the set-up of the care home structure is, there must always be one nominated responsible person who is legally responsible for ensuring that the care home meets all compliance requirements. 

This responsible person is appointed as a registered care home manager who acts as the leader for all day-to-day activities at the care home and takes responsibility for the adequate performance of all registered activities in the establishment under their supervision. 

Anyone who wishes to take on the role of a registered manager has to apply with the CQC. In order for their application to be successful, they need to be:

  • Of good character
  • Mentally and physically capable of fulfilling their duties as required by the position 
  • Adequately skilled, qualified and experienced

What skills, qualifications and experience will be deemed necessary, depends on the specific needs and requirements of the care home. 

At the moment, there are no specific qualifications that a registered care home manager must possess but they must be able to demonstrate leadership and management skills that can be applied to the care sector. It’s also recommended (but not obligatory) to obtain a professional qualification in the healthcare sector, such as the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children’s and Young People’s Services.

Care Home Compliance Training

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Working in a care home can be rewarding and incredibly hard work, but it’s important to keep up to date on all the necessary training. In order to be working at your best, you can benefit from our range of affordable care home compliance training courses.

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What is meant by CQC compliance?

CQC compliance means that a care provider complies with the standards and regulations of The Care Quality Commission. Every care home in England is required by law to achieve CQC compliance in order to operate legally. 

What are the fundamental CQC standards?

The fundamental CQC standards depict the type of care everyone is entitled to and all care providers must meet these standards. The CQC standards are:

  • Person-centred care
  • Dignity and respect
  • Consent
  • Safety
  • Safeguarding from abuse
  • Food and Drink
  • Premises and equipment
  • Complaints
  • Good governance
  • Staffing
  • Fit and proper staff 
  • Duty of candour
  • Display of ratings

What regulations do care homes need to comply with?

All care homes in England must be registered with the Care Quality Commission and comply with the CQC regulations.

Does CQC compliance apply to domiciliary care?

Yes, the CQC regulations and standards must be observed by all care providers, including care homes and domiciliary care.