Clare Drewell, Director & Owner of Care Concern (Homecare) Ltd since 1993 has been inspected many times over the years and, because she is so passionate about delivering the best care that she can to her clients, there are always butterflies. Here she presents her blog about the ‘big day’.
If you’ve been a care provider for any length of time, you’ll know exactly what it feels like in the lead-up to an inspection from the regulator. We knew we were due an inspection and had completed our PIR form a couple of months before, but it was still nerve-wracking waiting to be told when it would happen, so it was a relief when we finally got the news.
For us, it was about maintaining our hard-earned ‘Outstanding’ rating. With that goal in mind, we dedicated the couple of days prior to the inspection to double-checking our records and preparing a digital folder of documents that we wanted to present to our inspector.
Our staff had been asked to complete questionnaires and the inspector requested to meet some of our care workers, so we also discussed how we wanted to present ourselves and our company.
When the day came, we felt prepared, but it was a turbulent start. Our inspector was delayed in traffic, couldn’t find parking and had run out of phone battery! So, I went out on a rescue mission to find her. It turned out to be a great decision because it gave us a chance to catch up and lighten the mood on the walk back to the office.
Of course, we felt a bit anxious, especially because she started the day by telling us that it would be much harder to achieve ‘Outstanding’ this time around.
We were always confident of our service, nonetheless it was difficult to tell what our inspector was thinking, especially when answering her questions throughout the day. But, because of PASS we were able to point her to all the answers and show her the scope of a digital platform. She was first introduced to it at our inspection two and a half years earlier when we were just implementing PASS, but this time, she was able to see it fully implemented, engage with it and understand the extent of its advantages.
Then she gave us the verdict, “You’ve done it! You’ve achieved ‘Outstanding’ for the second time!” I felt speechless: ecstatic and relieved. The whole team was on a high.
A large factor in our success was our decision to ditch the paper and go digital. Implementing the PASSsystem and moving to digital care planning has revolutionised the way we work. We are now able to respond to issues much quicker, spot patterns more easily and make instant changes to care plans, freeing up time to be spent more productively elsewhere in the business.
Going digital has also allowed us to involve families more closely and they really appreciate having real time access to their loved one’s care from anywhere around the country or the world 24/7, using the openPASS app.
Implementing PASS has had such a positive impact on our staff and client experience and I believe that a lot of our success is down to our fantastic team who have worked very well together.
If I had to give one piece of advice on how to improve a CQC rating or even what to do to achieve ‘Outstanding’, I would suggest checking and double checking your systems and records prior to inspection and make sure your team are on top of their workload. It’s important to really know your business and your team so that you can communicate clearly to your inspector how you work. Inspectors don’t know where to look in your office for the evidence they need, so a good working knowledge of the CQC KLOEs (Key Lines of Enquiry) helps make sure you are providing them with everything they need and want to see. Also, giving as many examples as you can about the impact your service has had on your clients’ outcomes and promoting your achievements goes a long way.
Oh, and one more tip if you want to stay at the top; make sure you take some time after the inspection to have a debrief with your team and follow up with your inspector. If you remember something that you didn’t show them on inspection day, send it over to them by email. Don’t wait for them to request it. These extra bits of information can be the difference between ‘Good’ and ‘Outstanding’ at your next inspection!
By Clare Drewell, Director & Owner of Care Concern (Homecare) Ltd.