CQC review of dignity and nutrition extended to care homes

Between March and June 2011 CQC inspected 100 NHS hospitals to look at whether older people were being treated with respect and whether they were getting food and drink that meets their needs. In its review of healthcare services published on 7 March 2012 CQC repeated its intention to extend its review of dignity and nutrition to 500 care homes around the country. Although it had originally intended to commence these inspections early in 2012 this programme has now been put back to summer 2012.

Now is therefore a good time for care home providers to have a look at how they are doing regarding compliance with Outcomes 1 and 5 of the Essential Standards so that they are ready in the event that CQC picks on them as part of its review. Needless to say CQC will be publishing on its website a specific report for each care home that it inspects as part of its review of dignity and nutrition.

It is worth noting that in CQC’s report regarding the review it carried out last year in hospitals, the following practices found by inspectors were cause for particular concern:

  • Patients’ privacy not being respected – for example, curtains and screens were not being closed properly.
  • Call bells were being put out of patients’ reach, or not answered soon enough.
  • Staff were speaking to patients in a dismissive or disrespectful way.
  • Patients were not being given the help they needed to eat.
  • Patients were being interrupted during meals and having to leave their food unfinished.

It can be expected that these issues will be focused on by inspectors in CQC’s continuation of its review of dignity and nutrition and so it would be prudent for care home providers to carry out their own review of dignity and nutrition to make sure that their staff are treating residents correctly and these are not issues at their homes.