The word “care” has many different definitions and even more interpretations. Most people are aware of the Care sector as a result of intense media coverage in recent years of investigations into the failings of different organisations and individuals within this profession.
To the majority of the British public, these cases highlighted instances of truly shocking actions undertaken in the name of care.
These scandals which surround those very rare examples of poor delivery of care only serve to overshadow the significant strides made by the profession and its regulators over recent years. With more rigorous scrutiny of the Care Sector than ever before, the regulatory bodies the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales (CSSIW) have driven up the standards measurably.
Today, before any business or charitable organisation can begin to offer care and support services, there are a number of statutory requirements which must be met. The first step however is to identify the areas within society that the organisation as a care provider wishes to help. The following is a summary of some key groups which form the options available:
- Children – aged under 16.
- Young people – aged between 16 and 24.
- Vulnerable adults – including those with either physical or mental impairments or special needs.
- Drug , Alcohol and Substance abuse dependants – including the rehabilitation of these individuals
- Ex-offenders – including those with histories of violence, abuse, or arson.
- Dementia – to include the entire spectrum of disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
Once the Organisation has established the sector which they intend to support, their next step would be to decide the level of care and support that they intend to provide. They can elect any one of the following:-
Care Home – with or without nursing
Each category has a number of variations in the type of service that can be offered – from offering social support to enable individuals to live almost independently, to those needs are only met by 24/7 care and support within a residential environment.
To enable any care provider to begin offering their service to the general public, there are 28 Essential standards which must be met and a raft of policies which govern the way in which the practice will operate will have to be prepared. The main focus for the CQC and CSSIW are the following 16:-
- Respecting and involving people who use services
- Consent to care and treatment
- Care and welfare of people who use services
- Meeting nutritional needs
- Cooperating with other providers
- Safeguarding people who use services from abuse
- Cleanliness and infection control
- Management of medicines
- Safety and suitability of premises
- Safety, availability and suitability of equipment
- Requirements relating to workers
- Supporting workers
- Assessing and monitoring the quality of service provision
The remaining 12 regulations are concerned with the routine day-to-day management of a service. The CQC or CSSIW will consider all standards which are relevant to the service that they are inspecting.
It is always recommended that the Care Provider maintains a healthy dialogue with their relevant regulatory body – before the application and registration process and beyond the approval and registration of the service. This enables the Care Provider to ensure that their service is enriched by practical and specific support in the areas that they operate. The result is a “win-win” for all concerned – from the Inspector, through to the Registered Manager, the staff and volunteers involved in the delivery of the service and ultimately the service user themselves.
With the increasing raft of legislation, careful selection of care providers, and the monitoring of standards, the number of good or excellent examples can only improve. The end goal surely is to ensure that the number of people who can proudly answer the question: “Who Cares?” increases every time it is asked.