Ridouts Associate Solicitor Anna-Maria Lemmer has highlighted four ‘hot topics’ the CQC will be focusing on in the weeks and months ahead.
Infection prevention and control (IPC), do not resuscitate orders, care home visits and closed culture were highlighted by Anna-Maria as key CQC focus areas during an updates webinar yesterday.
Between April 2020 and April 2021, Anna-Maria said the CQC had conducted 1,730 IPC inspections and 4,600 risk based inspections where there was risk to safety, including COVID-19 outbreaks.
More than half of risk-based inspections (54%) were triggered by information of concern from members of the public, including safeguarding and whistleblowing issues, that could lead to a breach of Regulation 12 regarding safe care and treatment.
The associate solicitor advised providers to regularly test residents, staff and visitors; use PPE effectively; implement safe admissions policies and practices; safe staff training and policies in IPC; and robust risk assessments.
Citing a CQC report in March, Anna-Maria highlighted the possible penalties for failing to comply with DNACPR guidance.
“It is important to remember that any death as a result of a failure to act is just as unlawful as deaths caused by deliberate action and they may be categorised as neglectful or even criminal,” Anna-Maria highlighted.
She noted the importance of ensuring that DNACPR decisions were completed with “full knowledge of all relevant information and that service users consent remains valid at the time when the decision is to be made”.
The associate solicitor advised providers to ensure that staff have been suitably trained; there is clear communication with the individuals involved and their families; robust record keeping is in place; and there is proper governance oversight of DNACPR decisions.
On care home visits, Anna-Maria said the CQC was focused on ensuring no blanket bans were in place.
She also highlighted draft legislation on mandatory individual risk assessments that had been prepared by Joint Committee on Human Rights as well as the new mandatory question by the CQC on whether a service is facilitating visits in accordance with current guidance.
The associate solicitor recommended providers have individual risk assessments in place.
On closed cultures, which are defined as increasing the risk of harm, including abuse and human rights breaches, Anna-Maria said the CQC was currently working with the DHSC on strengthening its regulation of providers use of seclusion, segregation and restraint using notifications.
The associate solicitor the CQC would focus on increased observation going forward.