Oak Tree Lodge

“The systematic approach means we are able to perform care planning for dementia sufferers that leaves nothing to chance,”

CQC Compliance without anxiety at Oak Tree Lodge

Client: Oak Tree Lodge
Sector: Residential care home

A Quality Compliance Systems case study

Background

Oak Tree Lodge is a residential care home housed in a Tudor style building on the edge of the New Forest National Park in Hampshire. The care home prides itself on providing high quality surroundings, making it an appropriate setting for the high standards of care that the team of 18 full and part time staff aim to deliver for the 19 residents.

Oak Tree Lodge is part of a group owned by Carewise Homes Ltd, which empowers local managers to run each facility as if they own the care home. Residents are encouraged to exercise choice in all aspects of their care. Care programmes and activities, events and trips at Oak Tree Lodge are designed to support individuality and independence. With an open visiting policy, guests are welcomed at all times.

The Challenge

Registered Manager, Penny Largent, has over 25 years’ experience of care home management, the last six-and-a-half at Oak Tree Lodge. When she took over she found compliance resources were inadequate for dealing with the increasing and evolving demands of regulation.

Penny Largent says: “Most of the compliance materials I inherited were provided by an agency that works with Hampshire’s county and city councils to help maintain care standards. Unfortunately the file of resources they supplied was not updated very often and it needed frequent revision. Registered Managers like me are not usually experts in compliance and this meant I spent a lot of time researching and updating policies.”

Experience in care organisations of all sizes has helped Penny Largent identify a problem unique to smaller care organisations. “Small units like ours do not have access to the significant resources and specialised departments found in larger care organisations. Yet, we have to meet the same compliance standards. The scale of compliance seems disproportionate,” says Penny Largent.

Rather than a specific issue, it was the ‘sum total’ of the compliance burden which prompted Penny Largent to seek an easier way of dealing with the regulatory requirement at Oak Tree Lodge. “It was a question of finding a better way to cope with all the procedures and offloading the responsibility for updating and maintaining policies,” Penny Largent says.

The Solution

Conducting research on the internet, Penny Largent identified QCS compliance management as a good solution for the needs of Oak Tree Lodge. The system is a set of information resources which are written and maintained by those who are experts in the regulatory requirements of the CQC.

The digital online system which enhances the information with the capability and flexibility provided by technology. As an online resource this may be accessed from any suitable internet connected computing device. This format also enables original documentation to be reproduced on demand by printing.

“Effectively we have offloaded responsibility for updating our policies to QCS. It’s the first place to go when a compliance matter comes up,” says Penny Largent.

The Results

The QCS compliance management system has been in use at Oak Tree Lodge for two years. Penny Largent says, “We passed the last inspection with flying colours. It saves a lot of time. On and off, it could take 2 or 3 days for us to develop a new policy ourselves. With QCS I know it is right and it’s to hand.”

By providing known good information the QCS system also saves a lot of anxiety. “With QCS we don’t have to worry because it is based on the latest policies and procedures. It is updated every time there are revisions to the CQC or Department of Health guidance, or the Health and Social Care Act,” says Penny Largent.

The system is most frequently used for managing admissions and designing care plans. “The systematic approach means we are able to perform care planning for dementia sufferers that leaves nothing to chance,” says Penny Largent.

She continues: “It is also regarded as essential when dealing with HR matters. I find that I use QCS a lot for recruitment, especially the job template descriptions, which can be adapted. It also has good contracts of employment and is good for managing holidays and maternity leave.”

For the foreseeable future, Penny Largent accepts that the burden of compliance will continue to be disproportionate for smaller care organisations. “As long as I can rely on QCS to stay on top of updating policies I will have the resource I need to achieve CQC compliance flawlessly at Oak Tree Lodge,” Penny Largent says.

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