Some resident groups more at risk during COVID-19, CQC warns

People with a learning disability, or mental health condition and autistic people may be more at risk during the current COVID-19 outbreak, the CQC has warned.

In reviews of this resident group to date, the Care Quality Commission has found evidence of restrictions and isolation. Voicing concerns about further restrictions of people’s lives and the effect on their mental health, the CQC says: “The current outbreak may have implications for staffing levels and the ability to keep people safe.”

During COVID-19 the CQC is adapting its regulatory approach to focus activity on areas at the highest risk to reductions in quality of care and where regulation can make the biggest difference.

The CQC says it is working closely with NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that people more at risk are included in any action plans. People who use services, their families and those working across the health and social care system are encouraged to report concerns online through the Give Feedback on Care service.

In light of COVID-19, the CQC has postponed publication of its review into the use of restrictive interventions, including restraint, segregation and seclusion in hospitals and care homes across England.

The review, conducted since the interim report in May 2019, has looked at the impact of these practices on people with a learning disability, or mental health condition and autism.

The interim report highlighted that the system of care for people with multiple needs is not fit for purpose and should be replaced with a more human rights-based approach, and with strengthened safeguards. The final report was due to be published this Spring.

The CQC says that stakeholder engagement should be at the heart of this review, but this is all but impossible, due to COVID-19 pressures.

The expected update to Registering the Right Support, entitled: ‘Right Support, Right Care, Right Culture’, will also be delayed along the same timescales.  

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