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Obligations of care homes providing care or treatment to people with disabilities

The obligations of care homes in relation to providing care or treatment to people with disabilities.   

Many believe that disabled people are underserved by the current adult social care system and the Government is facing increased pressure to do more to support disabled people.

This article looks at the obligations of care homes in relation to providing care or treatment to people with disabilities.    

What are the obligations of providers?

The obligations of care home providers in relation to providing care or treatment to disabled people are set out in legislation and related guidance. Additional responsibilities may also arise as a result of any formal arrangements between the provider and the local authority.

The key responsibilities of providers are set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 (as amended) (“the Regulations”). The following regulations are relevant to the minimum standards providers are required to meet in terms of providing care and treatment to disabled people:

  • Regulation 9 - Providers must make sure that the care and treatment of service users is appropriate, meets their needs and reflects their preferences. This includes a requirement to make reasonable adjustments to enable the service user to receive their care or treatment if required.
  • Regulation 10 - Providers must make sure that people receiving care and treatment are treated with respect and dignity at all times, including having appropriate regard to any relevant protected characteristics described in the Equality Act 2010. Disability is a protected characteristic under the Act.
  • Regulation 12 - Providers must make sure that care and treatment of service users is provided in a safe way. This includes a requirement to make sure that care and treatment meets the service users existing needs, as well as responding appropriately and in good time to any changing needs.
  • Regulation 13 – Service users must be protected from abuse and improper treatment. This includes a requirement to prevent discrimination in relation to the protected characteristics described in the Equality Act 2010.  
  • Regulation 15 – Providers must make sure that all premises and equipment are fit for purpose, properly used, maintained and appropriate for use. This includes a requirement to make reasonable adjustments when providing equipment to meet the needs of people with disabilities.  

What are the consequences of getting it wrong?  

The Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) can take regulatory action in relation to a breach of any of these regulations, or any part of them. The CQC will also refuse registration where there are concerns about a provider’s ability to comply with these regulations.

The CQC can also prosecute for a breach of Regulation 12 or 13 where the breach results in people using the service being exposed to avoidable harm or significant risk of harm.

Conclusion

It is important that the minimum standards set out in the Regulations are met. Providers delivering care and treatment to people with disabilities should make that they have adequate policies and practices in place to meet the minimum standards. Senior management teams will need to make sure that those policies and practices are being implemented and adhered to. They will also need to make sure that staff receive sufficient information and training on the requirements under the Regulations, as well as adequate supervision. Providers should also keep and maintain adequate records of all steps taken to comply with the Regulations, including any steps taken to assess people’s needs, to provide training or maintain equipment.  

Rachel Brown, Associate, Druces LLP

r.brown@druces.com

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Contact: Christopher Axford

Email: c.axford@druces.com

Tel: +44 (0)20 7216 5557

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