Staff members that look after residents in a care or nursing home have a duty of care to their service-users. Most people in this role are well-intentioned. But, without the right training and support, your staff can make mistakes that have serious consequences. And, in the worst cases, abuse or neglect occurs that is in breach of CQC Standards.

The impact of failing CQC Standards and lack of training

  1. Even small reductions in the standard of care can have a detrimental impact on the mental health of older people.
  2. Medication issues, physical injuries and malnutrition are among the top causes for wrongful death in nursing homes.
  3. Staff members are under pressure, working long hours in an emotionally demanding role. Burnout is common, which can occasionally lead to neglect.

What is ‘duty of care’?

Duty of care exists in all workplaces. It is a legal obligation to safeguard others when they are in your care and avoid behaviours that could be reasonably foreseen to cause harm.

Signs CQC Standards of care are not being met

Here’s a checklist of signs that show your staff may NOT understand their duty of care:

The residents

  • People in care have rapidly lost weight or mobility, even though they don’t have any conditions that might otherwise cause this to happen.
  • Residents have frequent bedsores and injuries are left untreated for several hours.
  • Service-users are unkempt (unshaven, wearing unclean clothes, hair not brushed) – poor hygiene can help to spread infection.
  • You observe care workers not providing for mental health needs (with activities, conversation, empathy and friendliness) – depression and loneliness can cause lasting harm or even death.
  • Residents who have been documented with a high risk of falling are not given sufficient support, so falls continue to occur. It’s worth noting that 20 percent of older people who have a hip fracture die within six months.
  • You have received a high number of complaints from residents. Around, for example:
    • Rough handling when being helped to move;
    • Being made to wait for too long before receiving help;
    • Feeling time-pressured to eat or perform tasks.

The environment

  • Furniture has been re-arranged in a way that could be a fire risk.
  • Clutter, low (or broken) lighting, spills, unclean areas and slippery wet floors are left unreported or not dealt with.
  • Furniture is broken or parts are missing. Although, a service-provider is not responsible for fixing the furniture, they are required to report hazards.
  • Doors leading to the outside are left open and unsupervised. Many older people in care homes have dementia, which can mean they get lost easily.
  • Systems and processes are not properly adhered to. This might mean:
    • Call bells are missed;
    • Care plan reviews are not carried out in a timely manner;
    • Medications are not given at correct times;
    • Residents being unlawfully deprived of their liberty – this is a mental health concern as well as a legal one as it can cause great unhappiness;
    • Regular training is not attended or applied, resulting in potentially harmful training gaps.

Get training in duty of care

Think of these signs as symptoms of a bigger problem. Training is the best way to address failings in duty of care on a holistic level.

In order to suit the needs of your staff for flexible, independent learning, have a look at these online courses in care and adult safeguarding.

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