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How to get outstanding at CQC

March 14, 2024
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As a leader in the UK's domiciliary care sector, achieving an 'Outstanding' rating from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is a milestone that signifies excellence in care. This in-depth guide focuses on the five key areas assessed by the CQC, offering detailed insights and actionable strategies for domiciliary care business owners and managers.

Is your care business safe?

Understanding Safety in Domiciliary Care:

Safety extends far beyond basic precautions. It encompasses a holistic approach to protecting the physical and emotional well-being of care recipients and ensuring the mental health and safety of care professionals. A safe environment in domiciliary care means more than just a physically secure setting; it involves a culture where every potential risk is acknowledged, assessed, and managed effectively. This critical aspect of care begins with comprehensive risk assessments tailored to each care recipient. These assessments should consider factors such as mobility challenges, medical equipment in the home, potential hazards in the living environment, and any specific health conditions that might present additional risks.

Actionable Takeaways:

  • Begin with a detailed risk assessment for each care recipient, focusing on their specific needs and living conditions.
  • Develop and implement a training program for care professionals that covers both physical safety and mental health awareness.
  • Embrace digital tools that facilitate real-time reporting and monitoring of safety concerns.

Read also - Enhancing Safety in Homecare: A Guide for Care Business Owners and Managers in the UK

Is your care business effective?

Maximising Efficiency and Outcomes in Domiciliary Care:

The effectiveness of a domiciliary care business is fundamentally measured by how well it meets the diverse and changing needs of its care recipients. Effective care is characterised by its ability to improve or maintain the quality of life, enhance independence, and ensure the dignity of care recipients. It requires a deep understanding of their individual health conditions, preferences, and living situations.

Creating personalised care plans is the cornerstone of this approach. These plans should be comprehensive, covering not just medical or physical needs, but also considering social, emotional, and psychological aspects. Regular reviews and updates of these plans are crucial, as the conditions and needs of care recipients can change over time. It’s also vital that these plans are made in collaboration with the care recipient and their loved ones.

To achieve this level of personalised and preventative care, embracing digital tools is key. Digital care planning software allows for the efficient creation, updating, and sharing of care plans among team members. It ensures that all care professionals are informed of the latest changes in a care recipient's plan, leading to more coordinated and consistent care. These tools can also facilitate better communication between the care team, care recipients, and their families, ensuring that everyone is aligned and informed.

Actionable Takeaways:

  • Start by assessing the current care planning process in your business. Are the care plans comprehensive and do they cover all aspects of a care recipient's needs?
  • Engage care recipients and their families in the care planning process to ensure their needs and preferences are accurately reflected.
  • Then, explore and integrate digital care planning tools to enhance the efficiency and responsiveness of your care services.

Is your care business caring?

Fostering a compassionate approach in domiciliary care:

A truly caring service acknowledges the individuality of each care recipient, valuing their dignity, preferences, and life experiences. This involves not only listening to their concerns and wishes but also understanding the subtleties of their non-verbal communication, especially important when dealing with individuals who may have difficulty expressing themselves verbally.

The development of a caring and compassionate culture within a care organisation starts with leadership that prioritises these values. Training care professionals in compassionate care techniques is essential. This training should cover aspects such as effective communication, empathy, active listening, and the ability to recognise and respond to non-verbal cues. Furthermore, it's important to create an environment where care professionals feel supported and valued, as this directly influences their ability to provide compassionate care.

Top Tip: The King's Fund, a leading health charity in the UK, provides valuable resources and research on developing a culture of compassionate care within healthcare organisations.

Actionable Takeaways:

  • Begin by evaluating the current level of compassionate care provided in your organisation.
  • Organise comprehensive training sessions for your care staff, focusing on compassionate care techniques.
  • Implement digital feedback tools, such as care recipient satisfaction surveys, to gather insights on the experiences and feelings of care recipients regarding the care they receive. This feedback is crucial for making informed adjustments to care approaches and for ensuring continuous improvement.

Read also - Mandatory Training For Carers: What You Need to Know

Is your care business responsive to people's needs?

Adapting to Changing Needs:

Being responsive means much more than simply reacting to situations. It involves proactively anticipating and adapting to the evolving health and social circumstances of care recipients. Responsiveness is crucial because each care recipient's situation is fluid - their health conditions, personal preferences, and social environments can change, sometimes rapidly.

A homecare business can demonstrate responsiveness by swiftly updating care plans for a recipient who has recently undergone surgery, ensuring that their new physical limitations are addressed with additional support and rehabilitation services. They can also show responsiveness by using digital tools to gather and act on feedback from care recipients and their families, making immediate adjustments to care routines based on their evolving needs and preferences.

Actionable Takeaways:

  • Implement a system for regular feedback collection from care recipients and their families. This could involve routine surveys, feedback forms, or direct conversations. Analyse this feedback to understand the evolving needs and preferences of care recipients.
  • Integrate digital tools that facilitate the efficient updating and management of care plans.
  • Ensure that your team is trained in using these digital tools and understands the importance of regular care plan reviews and adjustments.

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Is your care business well-led?

Leadership as a Catalyst for Quality Care in Domiciliary Settings:

Effective leadership is much more than just managing operations; it's about inspiring and guiding a team to deliver exceptional care. Good leadership involves setting a clear, compelling vision for what the care service aims to achieve and how it intends to impact the lives of care recipients.

It also encompasses creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture where every team member feels valued, understood, and part of a larger mission. This involves recognising the unique challenges faced by care professionals, such as emotional labour and burnout, and addressing them proactively. Strong leadership is also characterised by a commitment to continuous improvement, not just in terms of care delivery but also in professional development and operational efficiency.

Actionable Takeaways:

  • Begin by fostering a culture of open communication within your organisation. Encourage feedback from staff at all levels and create channels for this feedback to be shared and acted upon. This can be achieved through regular team meetings, anonymous suggestion boxes, or digital communication platforms.
  • Invest in leadership training for yourself and your management team. This training should focus not only on operational management but also on soft skills like empathy, communication, and team motivation.

Achieving an 'Outstanding' rating from the CQC is within reach. By focusing on safety, effectiveness, caring, responsiveness, and leadership, and embracing digital tools, you can enhance the quality of care you provide. Remember, failure to address these areas could lead to substandard care, dissatisfied care recipients, and a lower CQC rating. Act now to ensure your care business not only meets but exceeds the standards of quality care.

Want to read more on this? Click the button below to read our article 'How to stop care standards dropping as you're growing'.


  1. Health and Safety Executive. "Risk Assessment in the Health and Social Care Sector." HSE Risk Assessment Guidelines
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. "Home Care: Delivering Personal Care and Practical Support to Older People Living in Their Own Homes." NICE Guidelines on Home Care
  3. The King's Fund. "Creating a Culture of Compassionate Care in Health Services."

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