Only around four percent of registered home care agencies are rated Outstanding by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) so we are absolutely delighted to have retained ours following a virtual inspection as part of a new pilot scheme.
The CQC is looking at different ways of carrying out inspections in the light of Covid-19, and Continued Care was among the first to be inspected through a combination of virtual methods and online tools.
Even though this latest inspection was carried out virtually, it was still a rigorous look at our business and services. It was certainly a very different experience for us all! It followed a comprehensive inspection in January 2019, which was carried out in person by a CQC inspector and rated the company Outstanding overall.
The CQC report praises our core values and culture, which it says puts “people at the heart of care planning and delivery.” It says our focus on providing person-centred care has had positive outcomes for people, and that service users feel safe, well cared for and supported to have maximum choice and control of their lives.
It also praises our positive staff culture and the importance we place on developing people’s careers. The inspectors said service users and their families found our staff to be exceptionally kind, caring and understanding. They said we spend time getting to know people so we can understand what’s important to them – helping to increase self-confidence, maximise independence and avoid social isolation.
The report says our leadership team promote “a positive culture that is person-centred, open, inclusive and empowering, which achieves good outcomes for people”. Our managers are praised for fostering “a culture of continually improving, high quality and compassionate care”, and for their extensive links with the local community and key organisations, which reflect people’s needs and preferences and support the development of our service.
The virtual inspection took place in November 2020 and the report was published in February 2021. A team from the CQC used electronic file sharing, video calls and phone calls to gather feedback from our staff, service users and their relatives, as well as the local authorities and health and social care professionals we work with. They also reviewed details from our last full inspection, along with care records, policies and procedures.
Our response to the Covid-19 pandemic is highlighted in the report as “proactive”, with our service users and staff kept well informed and offered both practical and psychological support.
It praises the introduction of “innovative practices and new ways of working” during the pandemic, including our electronic system that allows staff to plan, record and monitor people’s care in real-time, and is visible by service users and their relatives. Inspectors said it “fostered excellent trust for families and enhanced collaboration and communication.”
Director Samantha Harrison (pictured above) said: “It’s been a hugely challenging year for all of us working in social care, so to retain our rating from the CQC is a tremendous achievement for Continued Care. Above all, it’s a real testament to the dedication of all our staff who have worked extremely hard to continue delivering our high standards of care, compassion and support for our service users.
“Thank you also to all our service users and their families for taking the time to speak to the CQC inspectors and to complete the email responses.”