Nearly three quarters of care homes originally rated ‘Inadequate’ in England have improved their ratings following re-inspection by the Care Quality Commission. As a result, over 12,000 people across the country are now experiencing better and safer care from these services.
Analysis published today, (Wednesday 25 May), from 1 October 2014 to 31 March 2016 reveals out of 372 care homes rated as ‘Inadequate’, 73% (273) have improved their overall ratings following the most recent CQC inspection.
From these re-inspections, three quarters (205) have gone from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ and a quarter (68) have gone from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Good’.
Ninety nine of the care homes did not demonstrate sufficient progress to have their overall rating amended. Thirty four that were ‘Inadequate’ and re-inspected have subsequently become inactive – either following enforcement action taken by CQC or due to the provider choosing to close the service.
Today’s findings come at a time when the regulator has rated over 14,700 adult social care services across the country since its new approach of monitoring, inspecting and rating services was introduced just over 18 months ago.
The analysis shows that regulation can play a key part in encouraging providers to improve, but it is not the only influence. Sustained quality demands a commitment from everyone – staff, providers, commissioners and funders, regulators – all working together and listening to the voice of the public and people using services to make adult social care the best it can be.
Examples of how the re-inspected care homes were able to demonstrate that they had improved the quality of their care include: investing in training so that staff understand the needs of the people they are caring for and the required safeguarding procedures; cleaning and making sure rooms and communal areas present a homely and welcoming environment at all times; developing activities that match the interests of residents and involving them in decisions about their care, and; empowering staff to suggest ideas of how to do things differently.
CQC’s chief inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “I welcome the improvements we have seen during our re-inspections of care homes that were originally rated as Inadequate. Real change does not happen overnight – the improved ratings are a testament to the time, effort and determination of providers, their managers and their staff. This is good news for the people who use their services who have every right to expect care we would be happy for a loved one to receive.
“While services that have moved to Requires Improvement are heading in the right direction, I am clear that this is still not good enough and providers cannot afford to be complacent. Evidence of consistent practice and sustainability is what we are looking for, to ensure people always get the Good care they deserve.
“Ultimately, if services cannot or will not improve for the benefit of people they are paid to support, then quite frankly there is no place for them in the care sector. As the regulator, we will be vigilant and will not hesitate to use our powers to put a stop to poor standards of care being provided if necessary.
“But what I really want is for great care to become the norm. That is why CQC inspects and rates services, so we can share information about those services that are getting it right, and identify those services where CQC is tackling poor care so the process of driving forward improvement can begin.
“I recognise the stresses and strains being felt in the sector, but through working together, good quality care is what everyone must strive for. Most importantly, and as this latest analysis demonstrates, it can be done.”
Chief executive of Care England, Professor Martin Green, said: “I am very encouraged to see the latest report from the Care Quality Commission and this clearly shows that despite the care sector facing significant challenges, there is clear evidence that improvements in the quality of care are being sustained.”
Executive director at the National Care Forum (NCF), Vic Rayner, said: “Sustained improvements in the quality of care provided across adult social care is great news. At NCF we appreciate first hand just how hard providers are working to develop innovative, personalised services that meet CQC requirements – and most importantly the requirements of residents and their families. NCF believes that commitment towards quality is fundamental, and recognises the important role CQC plays in championing this agenda.”
Director of Policy at Carers UK, Emily Holzhausen, said: “The early signs of improvement following re-inspections announced today are encouraging but many families will remain concerned that there is not consistently high quality residential care available to those they support. Good quality care means dignity and respect for the person being cared for and also gives carers peace of mind that the person they love is well looked after. Many carers rely on back up from residential care to provide them with a much needed break from their caring role and others continue to provide significant levels of care to those living in residential care. Without trust and confidence in the quality of care being provided families see a number of negative effects on their own lives from giving up work to care to straining relationships with friends and family. There are also opportunity costs for society and the wider economy.”
Rhidian Hughes, chief executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, said: “Robust and efficient regulation in the sector is a must. Providers can address areas of poor quality by using inspection findings to inform improvement priorities. The delivery of high quality social care requires all parts of the sector to work together. This includes ensuring adequate funding is in place to enable voluntary organisations to deliver high quality sustainable services fit for the future.”
Tony Hunter, chief executive at the Social Care Institute for Excellence, said: “Today’s announcement shows that improvement is possible, despite all the challenges that care homes face. That’s really encouraging. Managers, staff and residents have clearly made a commitment to improving the quality of care in their homes. We know from our own work with care providers that CQC inspection reports and ratings can concentrate minds and often act as a trigger to tackle difficult issues. We also recognise the issues that CQC identify as supporting improvement: investment in training, personalised support, and involving users and frontline staff in decision-making. It’s critical to sustain and expand this level of improvement; and SCIE looks forward to continuing to work with individual care providers and CQC to ensure that happens.”