The Care Quality Commission (CQC) the independent regulator of health and adult social care services in England are introducing new methods to inspect domiciliary care agencies as part of their planned inspection programme. These were tested and evaluated as part of CQC‘s themed inspection programme in 2012.

CQC say inspectors can choose some of the following methods as part of an inspection, depending on the type and size of the service:

  • Telephoning people who use the service
  • Visiting people at home to speak with them about their care
  • Accompanying a manager on their ‘spot checks’ of their services, checking first that people are happy for CQC to come to their home
  • Using questionnaires to gather people’s views, as well as those of their carers or relatives
  • Visiting the head office and speaking with staff and the manager of the service

In addition to CQC inspectors checking records, care plans, training for staff and the provider’s processes etc, it may ask local health watch and other local groups for their opinion. CQC inspectors can also be supported by ‘Experts by Experience’.

CQC say they will usually give short prior notice (48 hours) of an inspection, to enable sufficient staff to be available at the agency’s premises to help answer questions and to allow CQC to start speaking with service users once the inspection begins.  There is more about the new methods on CQC‘s website here.

The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) Policy and Campaigns Director Colin Angel commented:

“We are pleased to see CQC refining their inspection methodology for the home care sector, after the extensive work that UKHCA undertook with them on the themed inspection of domiciliary care agencies. Better assessment of the experience of people who use home care services is a positive move, as is providing a short period of notice, to enable businesses to ensure they have the right staff present on the day of an inspection visit.”

We at Home Care Direct hope this more considered approach will benefit both home care providers and the individuals who use home care services. We welcome all work that is done to ensure that people are receiving quality care a home services.  If you would like to comment on the CQC inspections or your experience of home care, please get in touch with us here.