All organisations need policies and procedures in place to ensure that the correct processes are adhered to and health and safety measures are followed. Without them, things can quickly fall apart and even lead to dangerous situations. Care homes are just one example of an organisation that needs policies and procedures to function, especially as they sit within an industry that concerns people’s health and wellbeing. So, what are the policies and procedures in a care home? Read on to find out…
Types of Policies and Procedures in a Care Home
To give you an idea of the different types of policies and procedures in a typical care home, we’ve compiled a useful list of some of the main ones:
Health & Safety
As you may be able to imagine, there are numerous health and safety procedures in care homes to keep residents and staff safe. In the event of an accident, there should be policies in place for accident investigation and accident reporting, detailing who was involved, the date and time the accident occurred and how it was dealt with. Medicines, tools and equipment should all be properly stored and food should be correctly labelled for allergens.
Top priority in a care home is keeping the residents safe and polices like the Safeguarding policy help to do just this. Safeguarding policies were created to protect residents’ health, wellbeing and human rights to ensure that all residents at the home are happy, healthy and do not suffer any abuse. Staff will receive mandatory Safeguarding training as part of their onboarding.
Staff in a care home go through special staff training for their role, which includes things like medication management, how to care for those who may have certain health conditions and administerial procedures including logging reports and records during the day. When it comes to reporting incidents or accidents in the home, staff must be able to confidently complete documentation like risk assessment forms and accident reports. Staff could also be required to have mentoring and coaching training to help more junior members of staff.
Care home managers have the responsibility of ensuring that care home policies and procedures are followed to provide the best possible care and creating a healthy and happy care home culture, free from harm, abuse and neglect.
Any building needs to have fire safety procedures to ensure that in the event a fire, the building is evacuated quickly and efficiently, with clear signage indicating where to go and what to do in the event of a fire. Emergency response protocols are vital, especially when dealing with elderly people who may not be as mobile, or who have conditions like dementia which can cause confusion and distress in stressful situations.
Any building is subject to procedures such as audits, inspections, surveys and reports, and care homes are no exception. Care homes should be regularly assessed on their safety and any potential issues flagged, such as unstable structures, broken equipment or damaged furnishings, and repairs should be arranged. Working CCTV systems need to be installed inside and outside the building.
The Care Quality Commission
The Care Quality Commission, or CQC, is England’s health and social care services regulator. The CQC registers, monitors and inspects care homes and gives them one of four ratings; Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement, or Inadequate, based on their Safety, Effectiveness, Responsiveness and how Caring and Well-led they are. CQC ratings give care seekers a trustworthy indication of a care home’s quality and safety and how well they are able to deliver care tasks.
When a care home is set up, it must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), demonstrating that it complies with the legal requirements of safely carrying on Regulated Activities as defined by the CQC’s Fundamental Standards of Quality and Safety. In fact, the CQC’s policies and procedures for care homes were developed with the help of staff actually working in care homes! In Scotland and Wales, inspections are carried out by the Care Inspectorate and in Northern Ireland, by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority, or the RQIA.
Care Homes and COVID-19
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, lots of UK care providers have added on additional protocols to protect residents, staff and visitors, including increased cleaning and rigorous disinfecting in the home, test and trace systems, free PPE equipment for care home staff and limited visiting hours.
If you’re just starting out on your care home journey, don’t be afraid to ask care home managers to recount the home’s policies and procedures – after all, they’re there to keep you safe. If you would like to know more, why not contact us, or take a look at our Care FAQs.