A care service, like any business, needs to communicate with its customers. Its main customers are the people who use its services, but service commissioners can also be regarded as “customers”, wherever they contract the provider to deliver services on their behalf.

A care service always needs to look to its future complement of service users, so communication with prospective service users is also important. The documentation about a care service should therefore be written so as to be attractive and informative to people who may be considering receiving care from the service. This includes information presented on a service website. The manager and staff should equally be ready to talk to any prospective service users and to their advisors.

Registered persons should note that all health and care service providers must achieve the Accessible Information Standard produced under the Health and Social Care Act 2012. The standard was launched in 2015 and has been a legal requirement since July 2016.

Also, guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), published in November 2018, makes clear that all information provided to prospective care home residents (and throughout their stay) must comply with consumer law. By this, it is meant the information must be complete, accurate and accessible to allow informed decisions to be taken about admission to a care home, and, by implication, to the receiving of any care service.

Care services will also need to show in their information how they have responded to the Covid-19 outbreak, including the safety measures, wearing of PPE, carrying out of risk assessments and testing policies. Care homes should make clear that their admission policies include a requirement to self-isolate for 10 days or equivalent on moving into the home. This information should be updated as government policies change.

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