CQC: Care homes failing to train staff in deprivation of liberty

Many care homes have failed to provide staff with appropriate deprivation of liberty safeguards training, leading to poor practice and human rights breaches, the Care Quality Commission warned today. (Image: Rex)

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Many care homes have failed to provide staff with appropriate deprivation of liberty safeguards training, leading to poor practice and human rights breaches, the Care Quality Commission warned today.

A significant minority homes are failing to train all relevant staff in the safeguards or provide staff with up-to-date training, while some staff who had been trained lacked confidence in their knowledge, said the regulator’s annual report on Dols, which covered 2010-11.

Care homes are required to apply to local authorities for approval where they suspect they may be depriving people who lack the capacity to consent to their care and treatment of their liberty.

However, despite significant developments in case law setting out what constitutes a deprivation, some homes had not updated training for staff since the Dols’ implementation in April 2009.

The conclusion on training mirrors one drawn in CQC’s first annual report on Dols last year, and the regulator warned: “Providers have had ample time to put training in place, and any continuing failure to check and ensure staff competence in the safeguards…would be a serious omission.”

The CQC, which also found training shortfalls in NHS and independent hospitals, said the training shortfalls were leading to poor practice. It found a “lack of consistency and confusion about what constitutes a deprivation of liberty” in care homes. For instance, some homes locked people in their rooms or used restraints such as bed rails without considering whether they were being deprived of their liberty.

This meant that applications were not made to councils, whose role is to assess whether the person is being deprived of their liberty, whether this is in their best interests, necessary to prevent harm and proportionate to the risks of harms.

The CQC said the poor practice resulted in cases of people not having their rights protected.

The report also found a widespread failure on the part of providers to report deprivation of liberty applications to the CQC, as they are required to do, with just one in three applications reported to the regulator.

It said it would start fining or taking other enforcement measures against providers that did not comply with this requirement.

Image: Rex

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