Watchdog Helps Care Homes Make The Grade

Hundreds of care homes are to get detailed advice on how to improve the way they look after people with terminal illness – direct from the care watchdog. The Care Commission has invited providers to attend groundbreaking seminars designed to help them meet national standards.

Now 60 separate organisations have snapped up places, where they will learn what the regulator sees as best standards in palliative care to people reaching the end of their lives.

Unannounced spot checks, as well as planned inspections, are key tools for the Care Commission, which regulates 15,000 services against the Scottish Executives National Care Standards.

Its activities also include registration of all services, investigation of complaints and consulting care users, their families and care workers to ensure standards are being met.

Susan Brimelow, Director of Healthcare Regulation with the Care Commission, said: “We exist to drive up the standards of care in Scotland and this is an innovative way to achieve that. Good service providers realise there is no short cut to achieving the standards nor is our inspection process about a simple ‘pass’ or ‘fail’. However, telling services what we are looking for helps them adopt best practices which benefit care users, their families and staff in the long term.

“These seminars are the first of the kind we have organised and we are delighted with the responses. It shows very clearly they understand and accept there is no place for poor practice and that improvement is an ongoing process that never stops.

“In the care sector, few areas are as sensitive as looking after those who are terminally ill and it is heartening to see so many providers intent on learning about best practices with a view to improving the standard of care they offer.”

The Scottish Executive introduced new best practice guidelines last year and from April, they will form one of the main focus areas the Commission’s inspection of Care Homes for Adults. At the two seminars in Musselburgh, providers will be told exactly how the Commission will be interpreting those guidelines.

Ms Brimelow added: “We are playing our part by working with them and creating the fairest possible system where there is a level playing field and everybody knows exactly what is expected of them.”

Among the 160 people attending the two events will be staff and managers from Care Homes for Older People, Adults with Learning Disabilities, Mental health Problems, Physical and those with Sensory Impairment and Physical Impairment.

Since it was created in 2002, the Care Commission has inspected all care providers – including nurseries, childminders and care homes – against National Care Standards, which are written very clearly from the point of view of care users and their families.

However, Ms Brimelow said responsible providers have made it clear they would welcome more advice on improving the quality of palliative care and raising standards.

She added:  “This is the first time we have invited Service Providers to meet with us directly to discuss best practice in this way and we will be very carefully evaluating the feedback and the success.”

The seminars are being held in Musselburgh, East Lothian, from 1.30-4pm on Wednesday and Thursday, January 17 and 18. Care providers from the public, private and voluntary sectors will be attending the seminars.