Monthly column for providers and professionals working in adult social care from Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care.
When I asked Ella why she loved her job in social care she said: “the best thing is the people you support allowing you to be part of their life, to build their trust and to help them make the little things happen, as well as their big dreams come true…to give them the life they want.”
As we come to the end of 2019, I have been reflecting on an interesting and challenging year. This week I visited a residential and nursing home for older people and a home for adults with complex learning disabilities. I observed staff members passionate about their jobs; encouraging residents to vote (I saw residents and care staff braving the rain to go to the local polling station), talking about people’s mental and spiritual health with equal importance to their physical health. I heard repeatedly that it’s not about the task of caring, but it’s about building meaningful relationships. I was particularly struck by conversations I had with care staff supporting a group of adults with no verbal communication and the lengths they went to in order to understand the needs and wishes of those they supported and their aspirations for a good life. As Clenton Farquharson , Chair of Think Local Act Personal, says good social care is about supporting people to have a life and not just a service, and that was what I witnessed this week. This is happening for many people across the country, but we need to collectively work to ensure that all people benefit from this type of support.
Our job as the CQC is to ensure that people receive good quality health and social care, which we do through registering, monitoring and rating care services. In addition to this, we hope to raise the quality of care experienced by people through publishing reports about best practice and areas that the sector needs to focus on. For instance, in June we published a report on Medicines in health and social care, which described lessons for better medicines optimisation across health and social care providers and looks at the positive impact of involving pharmacy professionals in health and social care settings. Medicines optimisation is something which I’m passionate about highlighting and will be taking about more in my blogs in the coming months.
In the summer was the publication of the latest in our Driving Improvement series, which focused on how we can drive improvement through technology and features case studies on topics such as digital records, telemonitoring and telecare. The use of technology and innovation in health and social care has been talked about a lot throughout 2019 and will no doubt be on agendas over the coming year as well. I’d encourage you to look at this resource if you haven’t already, as it really shines a light on some of the innovative practice that is out there.
We also published our findings following an in-depth review of the state of oral health care in care homes — Smiling Matters — which highlighted that three years on from the publication of NICE guidance on oral health in care homes, steps are not consistently being taken to make sure that people get the oral health care they need. We have received a lot of positive feedback from this report and next year I’ll be looking in more detail at the impact the report has had on the state of oral health care in care homes.
These are just a few of the reports and resources that I am pleased to say we have published over the past twelve months, as well as the huge numbers of inspections our teams have delivered. You can look through all of our publications on the CQC website. There is a lot of exciting work and many interesting publications coming in 2020, but particularly over the coming months we will be discussing the impact of winter on the health and social care system as a whole, so look out for more on this.
Finally, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and to say thank you for the support you will provide to those who receive social care over the festive period. I hope that you also find time to spend with the people you love and to recharge for the New Year!