A new good practice 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. This could be in response to poor care, an emergency or market exit.
CQC have worked in partnership with NHS England (NHSE), the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) to agree the guide, which sets out how local and national organisations should work together in order to coordinate action, avoid duplication and prevent confusion for people using services, their families and carers, care home providers and their managers and staff.
The guide has been developed following an event co-hosted by CQC and NHSE earlier this year to explore how unplanned care home closures are managed, learning from the experience of residents and families. At this event it was agreed that the system needs an agreed set of essential principles, underpinned by a framework of actions, to ensure the needs of people using services, their families and carers remain at the heart of the closure process.
Now, when a care home closure situation arises, organisations including local authorities – which have the lead responsibility for people with care and support needs – clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), NHSE, CQC, providers and partners will be expected to use an appropriate and detailed checklist to ensure the process is coordinated well.
Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said: “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."