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New CQC best practice guide for unexpected care home closure

New CQC best practice guide for unexpected care home closure

The CQC has released a new good practice guide to help minimise the impact on patients when a care home closes unexpectedly
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The care quality commission (CQC) has released a new good practice guide to help minimise the impact on patients when a care home closes unexpectedly.

The guide, Managing care home closures, has been published to help minimise the impact on people, and their families and carers, in the event of a care home closing in response to poor care, an emergency or market exit.

The guide sets out how local and national organisations should work together in order to coordinate action, avoid duplication and prevent confusion for people using services, including families and carers, care home providers and their managers and staff.

Recommendations from the guide include appointing a coordinator within the lead local authority for families or other advocates.

It will be this person’s job to ensure there is an accurate list of all residents and to be fully involved in the relocation process.

The report also recommends appointing a transport co-ordinator within the lead local authority to act as a single point of contact and oversee timely moves.

It should be this person’s job to notify ambulance staff in good time so that residents are not kept waiting for transport outside the home, the guidance says, and are helped to move only in daylight hours.

The CQC also suggests assessments of residents’ healthcare start to be considered straight away, rather than waiting for an urgent closure legal notice to be served, as arrangements can be explored in the meantime.

The CQC has worked in partnership with NHS England, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) to draw up the guide.

Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, said: “Care homes are people’s homes and they have every right to expect to live there for as long as they like.

“When a home closes unexpectedly, this can be a real shock for people, either for themselves or a loved one, which is why this will never be a decision that is taken lightly.

“As the regulator, it is CQC’s job to report on the quality of care that we find and our expectation is that providers will swiftly get to grips with any problems we identify.

“Sadly, there are sometimes urgent situations when it is absolutely in people’s best interests for us to use our powers so that people can move to a better environment quickly to experience the safe, high quality and compassionate care they deserve.

“These are rare events but they have to be managed well with the needs of residents, their families and carers guiding the actions of the different organisations and professionals involved.

“Clearly defined roles and responsibilities, consistent communication and making sure people’s wishes and requirements are fully taken into account are vital to ensure the impact on people is as comfortable as possible.”

Margaret Kitching, regional chief nurse at NHS England, said: “While we encourage people to do all they can to prevent care homes from closing wherever possible, when a care home is no longer able to continue providing a service its closure needs to be managed very carefully.

“The Care Quality Commission and the NHS, together with local government and others across the independent care sector, have worked to produce this guide to ensure closures are handled sensitively and are well-managed.”

The CQC has worked in partnership with NHS England, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) to draw up the guide.

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