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The four things you need to know about care home inspections

Who regulates care homes?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates all health and adult social care services in England, whether they are provided by the NHS, local authorities, private companies or voluntary organisations. The CQC ensures that essential, common quality standards are being met where care is provided. Before 2009, care homes were regulated by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

All care homes have to be registered with CQC and they have to conform to a set of standards. These standards can be found on the CQC website.

How are they regulated?

The CQC monitors care homes with regular inspections – at least one “review” every two years. It also takes in feedback and concerns from residents and those who have loved ones in the care home.

It can then take action if it believes there are problems or standards not being met. In an emergency situation, it can also demand a home is closed until the provider meets its requirements, and it can take a service off the register completely if necessary.

What happens on an inspection?

At the start of the inspection, the inspector or inspection team will usually meet with the care home manager or another member of the team. At this point, they will explain things like who will be carrying out the inspection and what the scope of the review is.

The CQC inspection team will then use key lines of enquiry and information from their own research to structure their visit and focus on areas of concern or areas where the service is performing particularly well.

CQC will collect evidence by:

  • Gathering the views of people who use the home
  • Gathering information from staff
  • Observing care
  • Looking at individual care pathways
  • Reviewing records
  • Inspecting the individual facilities where people are cared for
  • Looking at documents and policies.

Reports and ratings

The CQC use the evidence they collect to form a judgement about the quality of care, and then publish reports about the home they inspect on their website.

After each inspection, they produce a report. In most cases the reports include ratings, which show the overall judgement of the quality of care.

There are four ratings that are given to care homes: outstanding, good, requires improvement and inadequate.

To find the rating of any of our care and nursing homes, simply search for your nearest care and nursing home here - you’ll even find a link to the full inspection report. 

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