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How accreditation could help care homes diminish the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks in the future

Following the Covid-19 outbreak and its devastating effect on care homes, the government has pledged additional funding to support the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Framework (2020). This includes £600m specifically to assist in managing infection control for adult social care providers.

Care homes have suffered with poor financial stability for many years. A 2018 report by the National Audit Office called the adult social care sector in England a “Cinderella service” which is undervalued. Covid-19 has ruthlessly highlighted the fissures in the social care system and consequently had a significantly negative effect on an already collectively demoralised workforce.

While assisted funding will help the social care sector financially, we still need to find a way to meet the struggle with recruiting and retaining staff many care homes experience. Delivering high-quality, person-centred care requires a committed, engaged and trained workforce. Accreditation programmes can help with this and assist care homes in achieving a positive workplace experience with consistent standards of care provision.

CHKS accreditation supports the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Framework whether for an independent residential home or a group overseeing numerous nursing care homes. It delivers a needs-led, person-centred culture through strong leadership that affords staff development opportunities and engagement programmes.

Furthermore, it helps promote the relationship building with partner organisations that is seen as a key part of the Framework through sustainable service transformation. This in turn enables effective and safe personalised models of care to be delivered through joined up working across healthcare sectors.

Accreditation offers care homes a tried and tested solution that works in partnership with the organisation to review current processes, identify improvements and support the organisation on a journey of improvement. Through the application of evidenced based, internationally recognised standards, CHKS can work with care homes to ensure the organisation, its leadership team and its staff are empowered to make changes to support needs led care. Accreditation also ensures that governance structures are in place to support effective management of risk, including infection prevention and control and patient safety. This is more pertinent than ever during these uncertain times, and can help homes ensure consistency and continuation of care during any future Covid-19 outbreaks.

By driving improvements in quality through an assurance framework the whole organisation can feel confident in its service delivery, its workforce management, the effectiveness of its improvement planning and development. It can help increase preparedness for care homes to confront the issues the pandemic raised such as policies on visiting, PPE, isolation of suspected or confirmed infected residents, testing, the rise in associated staff absence and use of agency staff.

Accreditation provides many benefits beyond supporting the Enhanced Health in Care Homes Framework. It relieves burden on management, creates a driver for staff engagement and by encouraging a culture of innovation helps partnership working. It brings not just a culture of pride in the quality of service and a greater sense of ownership, but also improves client experience and satisfaction.

However, and perhaps most importantly in this current climate, accreditation demonstrates to regulators, commissioners and the public a commitment to and focus on providing a high quality service that prioritises patient safety.

At the end of June 2020, 40 per cent of homes had been hit by Covid-19 in England, with just under 20,000 Covid-19 related deaths among care residents in England and Wales and care workers dying from Covid-19 at twice the rate of their NHS colleagues.

Providing and inspiring confidence in care homes for those who live within them and for those whose workplace it is has never been so necessary. Accreditation can provide this assurance and should be seen as an integral aspect of operations at every care home.

For more information on how accreditation services can support your organisation, click here.