How are Care Homes monitored and inspected?

November 08, 2019

In Holmes Care Group

Choosing a Care Home for either yourself or a loved one can be a difficult decision but it helps to know that the care you are receiving is safe and regulated, to ensure that the quality of care is of a high standard.

So how are care homes regulated?

There are four main regulatory systems across the United Kingdom, each operating in different regions. England operate  Care Quality Commission (CQC), Northern Ireland operate Regulation and Quality Improvements Authority, while Scotland and Wales operate their own Healthcare Improvement and Inspectorates.

Each of the above services operates differently but core values and assessments are largely similar.  

What happens during an inspection?

During an inspection an independent inspector will arrive, often unannounced, to inspect the home and interview staff members, residents and family members to understand if the home is running to a high standard.

An inspector will check all aspects of the home from administration to safety, asking five key questions:

  1. Are they safe? While residents are living within the Care Home are they protected from abuse and avoidable harm.
  2. Are they effective? Have the treatments residents have received allowed for good outcomes, do carers and nurses help residents maintain a good quality of life based on the best evidence.
  3. Are they caring? Are staff members caring and do they treat residents with dignity, compassion, kindness and respect.
  4. Are they responsive to people’s needs? Are services within the home organised and responsive to meet people’s needs.
  5. Are they well-led? Have leaders and managers provided high quality care based on the needs of the  residents.

Based on these questions an inspector will be able to make a rating decision and, in some circumstances will take further action. Following an inspection, final reports are published online to the public to promote transparency of services.

How are homes rated and what do they mean?

Care Homes are rated based on the individual system in each region, the most recognisable being CQC’s Ofsted-like grading system which rates services from Outstanding to Inadequate.

But what does this actually mean for a home? Depending on the rating received after a yearly review an inspector will decide the next actions to take. Within the CQC  they grade using the following system:

  • Outstanding – The home is performing above and beyond CQC expectations and there is no further action needed until the next review.
  • Good – The home is performing to CQC’s expectations and there is no further action taken until the next review.
  • Requires improvement – The home is not performing well and improvement advice is given to the homes team and management following the review.
  • Inadequate – The home is performing below the expectation of CQC and immediate action must be taken again the provider of the service.

Inspections are a huge influence to transparency within the care industry, as well as giving a marker for Care Homes performance to make sure residents receive the highest quality care.

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Kind words from our residents and their families

Baytree Court

Baytree Court is a very relaxed home, pleasant staff and one of the nicest homes I visit, always get a smile. Service users seem happy.

Glenys Newbury - Health Care Community Worker

Almond View Care Home

To all the staff at Almond View - a big thank you for looking after Mum, with such kindness and dedication. Despite living 400 miles away, I always had a good feeling that she was in good hands. When I did visit, the staff without exception, stopped to chat to us even though they were extremely busy. Please accept my heart felt thank you to you all - a real credit to Almond View.


Bankview Care Home

Thank you for the excellent level of care that my father, Frank Boyle, has received. Bankview demonstrated for us the template for a care home and how it should feel and be run. Friendly, welcoming, excellent care levels, length of time staff remain loyal to the home and above all a clear and comforting atmosphere of great leadership.

Barbara and Jan

Social Work Department

Bankview Day care is welcoming and homely, meeting a wide range of needs with well trained staff and individual care for each client.

Bankview Day Care Centre

Bankview Day Care Centre

I understand why mum loves coming to Bank view Day-care it’s a home from home and the activities offered are excellent

J Campbell

Bankview Day Care Centre

The day care centre has made a huge difference to my life. Best thing I ever done, my week was boring now I have days out and shopping trips and good company.

R Burns

Baytree Court Care Home

We can not thank you enough for all the care, support and attention the staff at Baytree Court have given Marc. The staff have always given their time and support to us on visits which has meant a great deal.

Doreen and Yvonne

Beechwood Care Home

Both mum and I were most impressed with Beechwood and we have decided that is where we would like Dad to come to. You have put both mine and mum's minds at rest knowing that Dad will be looked after.

Thank You

Susan Gibson

K Macdonald in memory of my Aunt Jean

I can't exaggerate the admiration I have for the management and staff of Craigielea. I've never experienced so much patience, coaxing, kindness and care. These people share their lives and emotions, laugh and cry and mourn for the people who entrust themselves to care.

Craigielea Care Home

J Ellis in memory of Steve

The staff talked about my best friend being an inspiration to them, despite his illness It made me change my approach with him, instead of being despondent and sad, I spoke with him the way we had always been with each other. The staff saw him as a person.

Craigielea Care Home

Shelagh Goldie

My uncle, who is a retired GP, recently visited Dad on a trip over from Canada and commented that Craigielea is one of the best places he has ever seen in his experience of elderly care units. Very homely, calm, relaxing and wonderful staff. Keep up the fantastic work you do!


Grandholm Care Home

In all my visits I have been most impressed with the Care and Attention shown by all your staff, who are professional and courteous at all times. We are always welcomed with a friendly smile which makes us feel very much part of the home and being involved

J Barber

Grandholm Care Home

Please accept my sincere congratulations for performance and efficiency of Grandholm Care Home. The home provides a very professional, caring and motivational environment with an abundance of patience and understanding. The home is a credit to your team and one of the best in Aberdeen.

I McCormack

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