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05th January 2022

What a year that was

Abi Spence rounds up the year which once again was dominated by the impact of COVID-19, mandatory vaccines for the sector, and a new strategy for CQC. Thankfully, QCS was with you every step of the way, providing a range of resources aimed at easing your pain points and equipping you with the latest information.

Below you can see the highlights in 2021.

January 2021

The Prime Minister announced a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. The decision followed a rapid rise in infections, hospital admissions and case rates across the country, and hospitals are now under more pressure than they have been at any other point throughout the pandemic. Latest data at that time showed that the UK had vaccinated more than half of those over 80 as well as half of care home residents.

Our partner and employment specialists, Napthens noted the leading accident type resulting in non-fatal injuries to workers included slips, trips and falls (29%). Injuries resulting from handling, lifting and carrying (19%) and those resulting from acts of violence (9%) also appear in the top 5 accident types and it will escape no one’s attention that these are also amongst the leading causes of employee injury in the health and social care sector.

February 2021

Our dementia specialist Jackie Pool discussed getting rid of ‘F’ word in dementia care. The word in case you are wondering is ‘feed.’ So why this word? According to Jackie, ‘What is the person-centred alternative to ‘feeding’ an individual? I like to think that it is to dine with the person. And what is the difference between feeding and dining? Dining is not only the act of eating and drinking to me, it is also the opportunity for a much more enriched experience in an environment that entertains and stimulates all of my senses and more so when in connection with others when I can also engage socially in an enriched experience.’

Care Quality Commission fundamental standards state that service users must have person-centred care or treatment that is tailored to and meets service users’ needs and preferences and, of course, inspectors look for evidence that individuals’ needs are being met. Did you know the Pool Activity Level (PAL) Instrument is a well-respected and valid tool for identifying the level of cognitive and functional ability of an individual and provides guidance on how to support the individual to dine, given their specific level of ability. Find out more about the PAL instrument https://www.qcs.co.uk/digital-pool-level-activity-pal-instrument/ and try using it to improve the experience of your service users, develop the practice of your team and evidence to your CQC Inspector how you are continuing to develop your service?

March 2021

Watch our content highlights video that featured our Photographs Policy, Mobility Policy and Serious Incident Notification Policy.

April 2021

On 1 April 2021, the National Living Wage increased by 2.2 per cent to £8.91 and applied for workers aged 23 and over for the first time, down from aged 25 and over.

This is the first step towards the National Living Wage applying to workers aged 21 and over by 2024. The Government is also introducing increases between 1.5 per cent and 3.6 per cent to each of the National Minimum Wage rates for younger workers and apprentices.

May 2021

Our Social Care in Vision provided you with essential updates that you should be aware of. These included:

CQC launching a new online resource to support culturally appropriate care as well as resources for managers and staff. For more information click here.

NICE and CQC also released an updated joint working agreement which set out how both organisations will work together to inform and accelerate improvement in the quality and safety of care. For more information click here.

COVID-19: Making vaccination a condition of deployment in older adult care homes. There was an update to remind people that the deadline for the end of the consultation was Wednesday 26th May.

June 2021

We celebrated Pride 2021. And our message was really clear that there were lots of events for everyone to reach out the hand of friendship. We also encouraged to get involved if they wanted and our message was clear. ’Please whatever you do this year don’t be alone this Pride Month, connect and celebrate with someone, anyone and celebrate the fact that we as a community are free to live our lives the way we choose to live them.’ Read more about what we said and learn more about Pride: https://www.qcs.co.uk/celebrating-pride-2021/. Don’t forget protected characteristics run through our policies and procedures.

July 2021

The CQC launched a new strategy, and we produced a very good (even if we say so ourselves) four-part series, breaking down what it means for providers https://www.qcs.co.uk/smarter-regulation-what-it-means-for-providers/. The strategy covers four key themes – ‘People and communities’, ‘Smarter regulation’, ‘Safety through learning’ and ‘Accelerating improvement’. The body believes this approach will be more “relevant”, more “flexible” and more “responsive” to cope with the ever-increasing challenges that the social care sector faces.

August 2021

During August, our social care experts updated the Visiting Out of Care Homes Policy, Re-opening to Visitors During COVID-19 Policy and the COVID-19 Risk Assessments. Also, we highlighted the benefits of our Facebook Discussion Groups. Use it to ask any questions relating to the sector and share best practice. Want to know more?
For Domiciliary Care Providers, please join here.
For Residential Care Providers, please join here.

September 2021

QCS launched the Dementia Centre. The Dementia Centre, is the realisation of a strategy which looks to add comprehensive 'condition' specific support to its already industry-leading best practice and compliance systems.

The Dementia Centre aims to help transform the way that care professionals support the cognitive needs and abilities of each individual. Learn more about our centre.

October 2021

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association and the Association of British Insurers published guidance aimed at improving access to insurance cover for care providers. Download the full guidance at https://www.qcs.co.uk/how-can-care-providers-improve-their-ability-to-access-insurance-cover/.

Want to know how to reduce the impact of rising energy prices on your care home? Some tips include:

Develop an energy reduction strategy. An effective strategy should consider pricing, billing, energy reduction, compliance, monitoring and reporting. Energy consultants can provide support if required

Request quotations from several suppliers, directly, or via an experienced energy broker. Remember that water is also now available on the open market. You may make savings by switching supplier

For more useful pointers read how providers can navigate the energy crisis https://www.qcs.co.uk/supporting-care-providers-to-navigate-the-energy-crisis/.

November 2021

From 11 November, anyone working or volunteering in a care home will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 unless exempt. Our legal expert, Napthens, answered some frequently asked questions: https://www.qcs.co.uk/coronavirus/mandatory-covid-19-regulations-your-questions-answered/.

We also produced a number of resources aimed at helping providers implement this efficiently, please look inside our COVID-19 Hub in the Resource Centre, if you are a customer. These rules also now apply to all those working in health and social care from 1 April 2022.

December 2021

With the UK’s coronavirus alert now at Level 4, the government has introduced Plan B and updated the number of visitors allowed to visit a resident in a care home. It said the measures were needed to ‘balance the current COVID-19 risks and the need to keep people safe.’ Read more on this: https://www.qcs.co.uk/coronavirus/updated-guidance-care-home-visitors-cut-to-three-to-stop-the-speed-of-omicron/.

With winter comes the risk of severe cold weather, icy conditions and snow. Providers should have already created their winter contingency plans. We highlight some of the planning points you should consider when preparing for inclement weather.

Read more here: https://www.qcs.co.uk/putting-winter-planning-into-action/.

*All information is correct at the time of publishing. Use of this material is subject to your acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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