Last reviewed 12 October 2020

The CQC has outlined plans for its monitoring infection prevention and control (IPC) inspections in residential adult social care homes in England.

The CQC said it has completed over 400 IPC inspections in adult social care already, will be conducting IPC checks on all inspections in future and is committed to another 500 care home IPC inspections by the end of November.

The regulator has set out how its IPC inspections will look at whether adequate personal protective equipment (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 is being complied with; and the layout of premises, use of space and hygiene practice promote safety.

The CQC has published questions, together with guidance and “what good looks like”, to help care homes prepare for the risk of a second wave and the impact of winter pressures and focus on how well staff and people living in care homes are protected by IPC. The questions and prompts also help the CQC gather information about the service's strengths and highlight any gaps or concerns about IPC.

Where there are gaps in knowledge, the regulator hopes to be able to signpost the service to resources that could help. Although the questions are written for care homes, there are plans to adapt them to other types of service.

The 400 IPC inspections in adult social care already carried out aim to both capture good practice and to follow up in places where inspectors believe there may be risks to residents. The IPC inspection reports have been published on the CQC's website and, from 9 October, the public will be able to access an overview of the results.

The CQC said it will continue to publish a regular update through its insight reports and develop its approach, including the development of a new strategy, in line with new research and evidence, to ensure that people receive high quality, safe care.

As well as sharing best practice through Provider Collaboration Reviews, the regulator is encouraging innovation in controlling infections and providing safe, quality care by prioritising the registration of providers who are able to "raise the bar in the quality of care and in finding ways to protect those in care, whilst adhering to the criteria for safe infection control".

The CQC's questions on IPC are available at: https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/residential-adult-social-care/infection-prevention-control-care-homes.