It is important to examine the regulation of health and social care for adults, and in doing so ask what expectations are placed on providers and how they can deliver them.
It’s easy to surmise that we are becoming a nation of over-regulation when you stop and glance at the number of bodies and government departments that now exist to lay down rules. So what is the purpose?
For an area such as social care for adults, regulations exist to ensure a minimum standard of care for all. There are essential standards of both quality and safety that must be adhered to so that everyone will experience the same outcome during their care. That care could be at the local GP surgery, at the dentist or at a residential care home. Any business involved in the social care of adults is required to comply by law.
What areas are regulated?
There are 16 core areas of safety and quality standards and a further 12 that will apply differently to each type of supplier.
The regulations also differ in terms of whom they are designed to protect. In a care home setting, the regulation for adequate provision of food and drink that is nutritionally balanced and supports their residents’ health is essential.
There are also regulations in place to ensure that consent for treatment is obtained in a responsible manner. People need to be able to make an informed choice, feeling secure that they have been given all the necessary information about care, examination or treatment. Similarly, one of the core regulations covers the issue of fees to ensure that people are fully informed of what they will be expected to pay for the care they receive.
Quality compliance systems
With so many areas of regulation to adhere to, the most logical approach for providers is to invest in a comprehensive quality compliance system.
Online and hard copy manuals, monitoring documents and policy and procedure advice is dispensed by experts and allows regulations to be met in an efficient manner.
Most documents and procedures can be personalised to each provider’s needs and make the management of all policies simple by including audit documents and action plans.
In conclusion, regulation is an essential requirement of the provision of adult social care and given the complexities involved, the most sensible approach for providers is to invest in specific tools that ensure fullest compliance.
Natascha Hepwood, writes on social and health issues in the UK, she used www.ukqcs.co.uk as a resource when writing this article.