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The CQC Inspection Checklist for Care Homes: What You Need to Know

8 minute read | 27/08/2020

The CQC Inspection Checklist for Care Homes: What You Need to Know

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates adult social care services. Quality assurance in a care home should be an ongoing and robust process. You should never take your eye off the ball and always look for areas to improve. It’s not uncommon for a care home's rating to drop from Outstanding to Inadequate in just a year.


Effective preparation for a CQC inspection starts from the day after the last inspection. If you follow the key lines of enquiry checklist and tips for preparing for a CQC inspection, you’ll be ready to provide outstanding care. 


Understand The 5 Key Lines of Enquiry

When the CQC carry out inspections, they’re making sure you’re providing high-quality care. They then give your care home a rating of ‘Outstanding’, ‘Good’, ‘Requires Improvement’ or ‘Inadequate’.


CQC inspectors assess health and social care services using the 5 Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOE). It’s a framework followed to ensure you’re providing quality care and can potentially highlight some areas for improvement before your next inspection. 



  • The home and any equipment are well maintained and you look for ways to improve safety. Residents feel confident that their belongings are safe and secure.
  • There’s always enough staff on duty with the skills needed to make sure residents are safe.
  • Residents are protected from bullying, harassment, harm or abuse. This includes neglect and financial abuse.
  • Staff deal with incidents and accidents quickly and openly (and investigate them if necessary). You always take this as a learning opportunity. 
  • Residents feel safe and protected by staff, but they also have as much freedom as possible to do the things they want to do. 
  • Staff give the resident’s medicine safely and store it correctly. Where possible, the home involves residents in reviewing their medicines and supports them to be as independent as possible.
  • The home is kept clean and hygienic to prevent any risk of infection to residents.



  • Residents are regularly asked for their views about the quality and choice of the food and other aspects of the home.
  • Staff make sure residents get the right food and drink and that they have enough of it.
  • Staff have the right knowledge, qualifications and skills to carry out their role so residents have a good quality of life.
  • Residents are always asked to give their consent (permission) to your care, treatment and support in a way they understand. Where appropriate, family and friends are also involved in decisions about their care.
  • Staff know about residents’ health needs and personal preferences and give them as much choice and control as possible.
  • Staff speak with health and social care professionals (such as GPs) and take the right action at the right time to keep residents in good health.
  • Residents are involved when it comes to the home being adapted or decorated. Any changes to the home are made to help residents to be as independent as possible.




  • Staff know about each resident or have quick access to it. This includes likes, dislikes and background. 
  • Residents are encouraged to express their views, no matter how complex their needs are.
  • Residents have access to advocates (people who can speak on their behalf).
  • Staff also know the resident’s wishes for their care at the end of your life, if this applies.
  • Staff treat residents with dignity and respect. They spend time in their care, develop trusting relationships and are concerned for the wellbeing of residents.
  • Residents have enough privacy.
  • Family and friends can visit their loved ones.



  • The resident’s care, treatment and support are set out in a written plan that describes what staff need to do to make sure they receive personalised care.
  • Residents, along with their family and friends where appropriate, are actively involved in developing this plan. For example, residents should have a choice about who provides them with personal care, such as help with washing and dressing.
  • As residents’ needs and preferences change, their plan is changed. All those who need to know, such as the care staff, are kept updated.
  • The plan includes information about the whole of the resident’s life, including goals, abilities and how they want to manage their health. They may also have a health action plan.
  • Staff work hard to prevent residents from feeling lonely. They do this by helping residents to keep in contact with their family and friends. Also, providing accessible entertainment.
  • Staff also help residents keep up their hobbies and get involved in the community if they want to.
  • If a resident needs to visit the hospital, staff plan this well to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
  • If residents have any concerns and complaints, staff always take them seriously, investigate them thoroughly and respond to them in good time.



  • Residents can identify who the manager is and anyone else in charge.
  • Managers know what their responsibilities are and are transparent, including when things don’t go as planned.
  • Staff know what’s expected of them and are happy in their work.
  • Managers are available to support their staff when they need them. 
  • Staff have the confidence to report concerns about the care that colleagues, carers and other professionals give. When this happens, their concerns are thoroughly investigated.


Which criteria is left unticked and how might you tackle them? They can be achieved with preparation, seamless information sharing and an intelligent patient-engagement system supported by WiFi.


Preparing Staff Is Critical 

A huge part of meeting the inspector’s requirements and impressing them will be to prepare your staff. The CQC spends a lot of time observing those under your care. 


For example, they may observe members of your staff helping someone eat their dinner or how they interact with visitors, residents and each other. Your staff should continue to work as they usually would.


Have you explained to your staff why the inspection is so important for your care home? Make an effort to teach your staff how to communicate with empathy and respect - a key consideration for the CQC inspector.  


Start preparing after the day of your last inspection. Your staff don’t need to learn all the complex regulations but they should have some understanding of some key policies such as safeguarding and whistleblowing. 


This is especially useful when they’ll be asked questions about regulations and they can confidently give a simple explanation. Make sure these are readily accessible, whether physically or digitally. 


Information Sharing Must Be Seamless

Those in care and their families expect staff to know about their background, likes, hopes and needs. This includes any needs they have because of age, disability, sex (gender), gender identity, race, religion or belief or sexuality. With staff rotas and regular recruitment, how can you share this knowledge to those who need it most? 


Although your care home already has WiFi implemented, it probably isn’t being used to its full potential. Staff can use it to access care information for that resident, knowing exactly what type of care is needed for a positive experience.  


Successfully harnessing new technology improves outcomes for both the care facility and its residents; helping you be responsive to the ever-changing needs of those in your care. All at the touch of a button.


You Need to Personalise Care 

Your patients are the biggest assets of your organisation. The CQC inspector will want to speak with them to get their views on the organisation and how it is run. You want the patients to give their honest opinion so instead of preparing them in regards to the answers they’re going to give, make sure your care plans reflect the actual needs of your patients. 


For example, if one of your residents suffers from high blood pressure, make sure you have a short term care plan in place for immediate care. Residents can quickly lose a sense of independence, ensuring they have access to education regarding their condition is key.


Patient feedback is essential in any healthcare setting. You should always aim to provide the best care possible so you need to know what’s working for your patients and what you can improve. It’s important you conduct feedback surveys to address the issues even before the inspection happens. Do you have a system in place to gain these valuable insights? 


It’s a common stereotype that older people are bad at using technology, but they’re actually empowered by it. Residents can use the WiFi to make requests that would otherwise distract busy staff. An extra pillow, a glass of water and pastoral care - accessible through an inclusive platform. 


Admittedly, it can take them some time to get to grips with information and surveys displayed on screens. But with time and patience, the feedback you can receive from them is invaluable. 


Investment in patient engagement services that provide these services demonstrates to the CQC that you’ve thought about your resident’s needs and made improvements to make it easier to hear them. Implement changes in your care plans after the survey, based on your residents' feedback and communicate that back to them. This makes sure the next time you ask for feedback, it’s met with the same enthusiasm and honesty. 


Ultimately, the CQC inspector will just want to see how the care home operates on a day to day basis. Just remember to remain calm. As you’re backed by technology, you’re well on your way to an outstanding rating. But what solution is right for you?


Find the Right Patient-Centred Care Solution for You

If you’re interested in finding out how patient entertainment systems have evolved and what modern platforms can do for care homes and your residents - then click to start our quiz below.


It can be difficult to know what will alleviate the challenges you face but it takes into consideration the CQC checklist, budget and requirements and matches you with a solution that can revolutionise your care.



75% of patients want digital healthcare services

So let’s work together to give it to them, all while optimising NHS processes.

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