Are digital solutions the answer to a system crippled by underfunding and huge variations in standards?
The Care Quality Commission’s rating system for care home inspections has come under fire after a BBC probe revealed a fifth of facilities in England have been judged as not meeting the basic criteria.
Providers say that while concerns over poor care must be tackled, the current rating system is ‘inconsistent’.
And a ‘poor’ rating has left some providers unable to get insurance or banking, which can lead to closures, impacting on a system that is already unable to meet the high level of demand for social care places.
The BBC investigation quoted the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as saying that the ‘variability’ in standards of care across the country was ‘a real concern’ and it has vowed to continue to tackle ‘poor care’.
The CQC currently uses four ratings - outstanding, good, requires improvement, or inadequate.
With care services facing ever-greater challenges, it’s important that healthcare providers start to realise the benefits of harnessing the latest digital innovation and take a more-holistic approach to care
Across England, nearly 3,000 of the country's 14,975 care homes are currently rated either inadequate or needing improvement.
But providers have criticised the inspection regime, claiming some inspectors are not suitably qualified, inspections can be ‘riddled with inaccuracies’, and there is no independent body to which they can appeal against a judgement they feel is unfair.
Commenting on the figures, Helen Dempster, chief visionary officer at Karantis360, told BBH: “By implementing innovative digital solutions, healthcare professionals can ensure people are able to stay in their homes for longer, alleviating the pressure on care homes and providing improved quality of care.
“Using proven technology, such as non-intrusive IoT-based sensors, ensures the accessibility of 24/7 care, tracking habitual behaviour and spotting changes in real time to allow for intervention when it is most needed.
“With this accurate, immediate information, the social model will operate in a very-different, pro-active and, most importantly, personal manner that caters to the needs of every patient.
“Combined with the addition of an easy-to-use and cost-effective app, the level of visibility can be further enhanced to ensure the most up to date medical and personal facts are automatically shared not only with the local authorities and/or care agency, but with the individual’s family members, addressing one of the huge causes of stress for those overseeing the care of a loved one.
“Enabling even a handful of individuals to remain safely at home, rather than in a care facility, will drastically reduce the demand on care homes. But, equally, this model could be extended to put in place transparency and consistency around the standards of care within care homes, which is currently lacking.
“With care services facing ever-greater challenges, it’s important that healthcare providers start to realise the benefits of harnessing the latest digital innovation and take a more-holistic approach to care."