If you are a health or social care provider that has recently submitted your CQC application, you will now be awaiting your visit from a CQC assessor. During these visits it is vital that you are prepared to demonstrate compliance with all of the Commission’s outcomes, some of which will be easier to demonstrate than others. Looking specifically at outcome 9 which relates to the management of medicines, there will be certain standards that the assessor will be looking for through both observations and direct questioning.
Observations are generally used when an assessor has been unable to make a robust judgement on whether a provider has demonstrated compliance with a particular outcome or there are definite concerns about the level of compliance. In relation to these observations the CQC assessors are guided by some standard prompts which they will use to judge your compliance. These prompts break down outcome 9 into six specific areas as detailed below.
1. Safe and appropriate storage of medicines
With this prompt, assessors will be looking for medicines left out unattended or in an unsafe manner. Remember that having a medicines management policy in an office is not enough; you have to demonstrate that it is being adhered to in practice
2. Administration of medicines in a way that balances independence and safety
With this prompt, assessors will be looking for evidence of service users’ appropriate self administration of medicine, staff checking that medicines have been taken correctly and an appropriate level of support for those self administering.
3. Explanations provided when administering medicine
Here, assessors will be guided to listen as they observe care or treatment, specifically looking out for evidence of information being provided in relation to the purpose and potential side effects of any medicines being administered. They will also be looking for an awareness and respect of a patient’s privacy and dignity.
4. Management of discharge medicines
This prompt will guide assessors to look out for an appropriate level of information being provided to the patient, whether this be verbal or written. They will also want to see that any information given is tailored to the individual’s needs, considering any mental capacity issues or language barriers etc. Assessors may also take note of any obvious delays in obtaining discharge medicines, so try to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible.
5. Explanations provided when prescribing medicine
CQC assessors will also be looking for evidence that staff prescribing medication, provide adequate information in relation to the purpose and side effects of the treatment being prescribed
6. Care plans
Some CQC assessors may seek to track a patient’s care plan and if so they will be looking to see that where the care plan includes medication, it is prescribed on time and at the correct dosage etc.
If you are due for a CQC assessment visit it may be beneficial to walk through your premises bearing all of these prompts in mind, and seeing if you can ascertain evidence of the above (where appropriate). If compliance with this outcome is not evident to yourself it may not be evident to your assessor, and in which case you may need to review your medicines management policies and re-educate staff to ensure that they are complying with your policies and with the CQC’s standards.