Inspections are part and parcel of the home care industry. Local authorities want to make sure that your care agency is providing the best possible care for people in their community, and do this by conducting inspections on all care providers in the area. Preparing for inspections in home care can be difficult, but by taking the right steps, you can make any unexpected inspection smooth and easy for everyone involved. For some examples, we have used the CQC inspection process used in England to explain how you can be prepared, but can apply to any inspection around the world.
Preparing for inspections in home care – Expect it at any stage.
There are usually no notifications of inspections of the services that a care agency can provide. Inspections can last two days but does depend on the size of the service, and there may only be a single inspector conducting the evaluation of the care business.
Services are judged in five ways:
- is the service safe?
- is the service effective?
- is the service caring?
- is the service responsive to people’s needs?
- Is the service well led?
Staff involved in the inspections include the care managers, frontline staff and carers, service users, and relatives of service users. The main question is; is your care good enough that you would give your own mother? This is the main question that an inspector asks themselves, because that is the standard that we want all people to experience. The CQC use this as their mantle for inspections, and give ratings of Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, and Inadequate. Very few companies reach the outstanding rating, but with good preparation, any care agency can manage it!
Prepare your Paperwork
Have all the information ready for an inspector. This will show that you are ready for anything. Policies, procedures, feedback, and past timesheets should be easily accessible for an inspector (like in one easy to use app like NurseBuddy!). Good stories and emails from families help a lot to show that your business is delivering a high standard of quality care. Surveys are important for communicating with family members, so keep communication open and get evidence of your care quality! Preparing for inspections in home care needs a record of your services, so make sure that these are clearly defined and outlined for an inspector to read.
Manage your carer’s certifications, and keep your processes well defined
The biggest concerns are often around the poor training or lack of certifications that carers should hold. Keep a note of what certifications carers have when they join, and consider making it part of their position to attain more certifications. Some certifications expire, and have a record of when these are expiring is important to inspections. With this record, taking actions in order to remove any carer downtime will help keep your carers happy and inspectors happy. Make sure you have Standard Operationg Procedures (SOP’s) for all conditions and needs of care, clearly defined and explained to all carers and care managers.
Keep your staff happy, laughing, and enjoying their job
Possibly the most important part of preparing for an inspection, is making sure that your care staff are happy. Good staff are the most valuable aspect of a care business, as they are the ones that have every day interaction with clients. This is where a good manager can help make the lives of carers better; by keeping the communication flowing, and getting feedback on a regularly basis as to how they are doing in their daily work. Happy carers make happy clients; filling the houses of service users with laughter, no matter the condition. By letting carers be reactive, as well as prepared, can help add independence to clients lives. By balancing risk to the client and their independence, small activities like walking the dog or going shopping may give both the carer and client a break from the house, and make everyone happier.
Staff should know as much as possible about a client before they even meet them, and communicating this information is important to making them happier. Background, likes and dislikes, hopes and needs should be noted for all clients in order to make visits easier and more personable. If there are issues, there should be easy and confidential between carer and their manager, to address any problems in as quick and efficient manner possible.
Make sure that any equipment is up to standard for a carer to do her job, and that any items needed for care are supplied in good time or are stored safely in a clients home. Care plans should be easily accessible (like through the NurseBuddy app) and when there are changes, that these are noted clearly. Diary notes should be stored to inform other carers of care received that day, and a bit about the clients mood and thoughts that day. The rise of smartphones, laptops and other technology has improved the way that a carer can do their work. Find out more in our article on ‘How technology makes carers happier’
Preparing for home care inspections can help you achieve a better rating with your local authorities and so lead to more clients, carers, and help you grow your business.