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Care Standards Act 2000: What Is It And What Does It Mean?

George Griffiths

7 May 2021

Care Standards Act 2000: What Is It And What Does It Mean?

George Griffiths

7 May 2021

The Care Standards Act 2000 is a vital piece of legislation for care homes. It sets out the rules for managing care for patients and residents in several settings outside of public healthcare facilities.

In this guide, we'll focus primarily on how the Care Standards Act applies to care homes, explaining the basics about what these legislations in health and social care mean.

What is the Care Standards Act 2000?

The Act is a large document covering a wide range of rules and policies. It covers staff training, protecting the vulnerable, registering personnel and inspection and regulation processes.

The core aim is to enforce minimum regulatory standards and compliance benchmarks.

While care homes will always be different, and there can be vast variations in the facilities on offer, it means that there are national care standards that all residential care homes must meet.

Which facilities does the Care Standards Act apply to?

In short, the Care Standards Act 2000 puts in place standards for any healthcare or social care facilities that aren't directly managed by the NHS or another government body.

That includes:

  • Independent hospitals offering inpatient admissions
  • Nursing and care homes
  • Residential care facilities
  • Children's homes
  • Domiciliary care services or support

It covers all healthcare or social care services where people live, or where personal care services are provided.

What are the rules for care homes in the Care Standards Act 2000?

Firstly, the Act doesn't differentiate between nursing homes and care homes. While differences exist relating to professional nursing care, the Act defines all residential facilities as care homes.

While the legislation is vast and includes no less than 123 sections, nine parts and one supplement, we'll try here to summarise the most crucial changes!

  • The National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) has taken over responsibility for inspections from social services teams and local health authorities.
  • The NCSC now works to improve care home service quality, investigate complaints, and provide governmental advice about the range of care services on offer.
  • National care standards have been introduced, and all care homes of any size must comply with them. The intention is to raise standards gradually over time.
  • Inspectors have increased powers and can impose fines of up to £5,000 or up to six months imprisonment if care home managers refuse to comply with a requirement.
  • Inspector standards are now consistent across the board and are available in the Care Homes for Older People: National Minimum Standards framework.
  • Local authorities are regulated in the same way as private care homes and assessed against the same standards.
  • There are new rules around qualification standards and staff registrations, as well as staff to resident ratios.

We'll run through the rules set out in the Care Standards Act 2000 shortly.

To summarise, the Act means that care homes will have thorough inspection processes, the same consistent standards to reach, and the NCSC will independently follow up any complaints or required improvements.

How can care homes ensure compliance with national care standards?

The minimum standards are a fundamental part of the Care Standards Act. They introduce a wide-ranging number of guidelines, all designed to ensure better quality care and accessibility.

Here are some of the requirements that care homes should meet to comply with the national care standards and the health and social care legislation:

  • Choice: Residents must have a choice about which care home they live in. Moreover, homes providing specific care services must demonstrate how they meet the needs of their patient demographic.

    For example, a care home offering dementia care should provide literature explaining the staff qualifications or training and facilities that enable them to provide this service.
  • Information: Care homes must have a statement of purpose. This document sets out their philosophy, what they provide, and the aims of the home.

    User guides should be written in understandable language. Furthermore, guides should include details about the number of places, accommodation, and staff experience and qualifications.
  • Care plans: Homes need to have up to date care plans, showing how resident needs are assessed.

    All care delivered following a plan must meet good practice guidelines and follow the appropriate clinical guidance. Care plans and any risk assessment processes must also involve the resident.
  • Dignity: All care facilities must respect each resident's right to privacy and dignity.

    In other words, this means providing compassionate end of life care, promoting flexible activities, and meeting the needs of their residents in socialising and physical care needs.
  • Staffing: Care home staff must follow a formal recruitment process, with minimum checks such as police checks applying to all staff and volunteers.

    There must also be three paid training days per year. Additionally, at least 50% of care assistants must be qualified to at least NVQ Level Two.

There are many more regulations relating to resident accommodation, management and administration, and complaints procedures - but this brief recap summarises some of the most pertinent points.

What are the UK domiciliary care regulations?

Domiciliary care is social care or nursing support for people who live in their own home. That might mean outreach visits, home care appointments, or assisting with care through clinics or nursing facilities.

The Care Standards Act also covers this form of social care; the same legislation applies to patient care standards, staff training, and management processes.

Any agency or social care organisation providing personal care to individuals in their own home must also be registered with the NCSC.

Are there other legislations in health and social care aside from the Care Standards Act 2000?

While the Care Standards Act 2000 is one of the vital legislations in health and social care, there are several other rules and laws that social care professionals and care homes must comply with.

Examples include:

  • Good Practice in Continence Services
  • The National Service Framework for Older People
  • Department of Health No Secrets guidance, protecting vulnerable adults and preventing abuse
  • The Health and Social Care Act 2012
  • The Mental Capacity Act

Each of these regulations promotes best practices throughout the social care workforce.

Alongside the Care Standards Act 2000, the laws in place protect care home residents and ensure that all facilities meet standards to ensure the safety, wellbeing and good clinical care of all residents.

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