Care home patient having blood pressure taken

CQC working to support safe discharging of Covid-positive patients

Part of a national effort to protect NHS bed capacity for those suffering the most serious consequences of Covid-19, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is working with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), local authorities and individual care providers to create designated settings which allow some patients who test positive for Covid-19 to be safely discharged from hospital.

These designated settings, formed as part of a government scheme to allow Covid-positive people to be released from hospital, have been admitting people with a positive test who will be moving or returning to a care home setting.

Between CQC and their partners, a number of measures have been put in place to ensure patients still receive safe and high-quality care in these designated settings, as well as working to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in care homes.

The UK Government is said to be aiming for each local authority to have access to at least one designated setting as soon as possible.

CQC is working closely with the DHSC to ensure these social care designated settings are safe and appropriate, both for patients and staff.

Specific elements will be checked for by the CQC during inspections of these designated settings, in particular to ensure that infection control can be maintained. These will be checked using the Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) framework.

Checks will also be carried out to ensure services are physically separating this group of residents, whether a dedicated workforce is in place and ensuring there is an appropriate emphasis on ventilation.

Using the IPC framework, the CQC can inspect care locations against eight areas and report with ‘eight ticks’ on infection prevention control, giving the public an overview on whether:

  • Adequate PPE is available for staff and residents to control infection safely
  • Staff are properly trained to deal with outbreaks and the proper procedures are in place
  • Shielding and social distancing are being complied with
  • Layout of premises, use of space and hygiene practice promote safety

Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC, said: "It is our role to ensure that proposed locations for the designated scheme, which is an initiative led by the Department of Health and Social Care, meet the IPC standards expected for people with a confirmed Covid-19 test result to be discharged into.

"Since October we have undertaken over 3,000 inspections, including 712 IPC and designated setting inspections.

“We will continue to work with the Department of Health and Social Care, local authorities and care providers to ensure that all locations participating in the scheme are able to provide the high-quality care that people leaving hospital will need.”

The results of those inspections will then look to be published on the CQC website through an inspection report, where the public can see how a care provider has measured up against the aforementioned ‘eight ticks’. This will help provide assurances on infection prevention control and whether people are being cared for in a designated area, or in an existing location.

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