New business guidance released for care homes

Temoor Iqbal writes about a new
free online resource from the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI)  Further info from comms@tsi.org.uk

In
the past few years, evidence has been mounting to suggest that UK society is
ageing fast. A recent Government Office for Science report revealed that around 14% of us
will be over 75 by the year 2040, and that our average age is already over 40.
There has also been a sharp fall in fertility and birth rate. All of this suggests that we
need to quickly improve care provision for older people, and indeed our ageing
society has already been earmarked as one of the government’s four grand challenges.

One
area in which improvements can be made is in care home provision. Abuse and mismanagement, though isolated, have eroded
public trust. This can be addressed not just through tackling the perpetrators,
but also by adjusting the entire sector towards a basis of fair dealing and
open communication – something all care homes ought to embed as a form of
continuous improvements.

Following a 2018 review of the care homes sector by
the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Business Companion – a free online
resource for businesses produced by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute
(CTSI) in partnership with The department
for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – has published new Business in
Focus guides on communications, fair trading and web layout. These are aimed at helping homes
comply with the law, ensure contracts are fair, and communicate more
effectively.

Loud
and clear

The first of these
guides
is
concerned with communication and information compliance. It is aimed at allowing
care homes to give residents a helping hand in making informed decisions, in
terms of contracts, care assessments and accurate commercial claims. The guide
includes a checklist of what information to provide, a checklist of when and
how to provide that information, and a training sheet on how to deal with
initial telephone and email enquiries in a compliant manner.

Looking
good

The second of the guides is also related to
communications, but specifically focuses on care homes’ online presence. It
details where and how to store and display important information, as well as
giving basic guidance on designing, building and maintaining a fit-for-purpose
care home website. The guide includes checklists of how to provide basic and
important information online, useful examples of how key information should be
presented, and an example web layout which is invaluable for new institutions
or those looking to revamp their image.

Know
the law

The third guide is more technical in nature,
summarising the key legal requirements for care homes under the Consumer
Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and the Consumer Rights Act
2015. These pieces of legislation cover misleading and banned commercial
practices, legal options for redress for residents whose rights have been
infringed, and the overall responsibilities that care establishments have to
their residents. The guide includes: a checklist of contractual terms to avoid;
a breakdown of process, procedure and staff training tips for care homes; and a
training sheet for legally compliant fee variations – a very useful tool in our
unpredictable economic situation.

Published by Residential Forum

The Residential Forum is to promote the achievement of high standards of care and support for children and adults living in residential care and nursing homes, supported housing, residential schools and colleges, hospices and hostels. It contributes to improving the quality of service to the public. Members of the Forum are people of standing and experience drawn from the public, private and voluntary sectors, as well as some who can speak for service users and carers.

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