- The CQC has collated some examples of notable practice to share with dental providers.
- These are grouped according to the CQC’s key lines of enquiry.
- Under the ‘caring’ category, it looks at kindness, respect and compassion; involving people in decisions about their care; and privacy and dignity.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has inspected a number of dental practices over the years. During these inspections it has collated some examples of notable practice, which it is sharing to allow dental providers to improve and learn from them.
Examples of the notable practice are presented under the CQC’s five key line of enquiry questions: Is it safe? Is it effective? Is it caring? Is it responsive? Is it well-led?
This article will look at the CQC’s notable practice for ‘Is it caring?’
Is it caring?
The CQC looks at the following areas under the ‘caring’ category:
- kindness, respect and compassion
- involving people in decisions about their care
- privacy and dignity.
Kindness, respect and compassion
There are many ways to show compliance with this area and below are just a few examples of what practices have done in the past.
Patients are often nervous about coming to a new dental practice that they haven’t been to before, so practices have made a ‘virtual tour’ video on their websites. This allows patients to become familiar with the practice before attending.
Another practice had audio files available for patients who were visually impaired. These included the practice leaflet and the principal dentist was happy to make a recording of any leaflet if required.
Also, doing simple things like having different types of chairs in the waiting room, some at the same level as a wheelchair, can help show a little compassion and kindness to patients.
One practice, when planning dental care that involved complex lengthy procedures such as sedation, considered people's nutrition and hydration needs. In particular, appointments were arranged at specific times of the day for patients who were fasting, or if they were undergoing treatment in lengthy appointments. The practice also produced detailed guidance on nutrition and hydration for patients following a complex treatment. This included information on suitable amounts, types and temperatures of food and drink, and what precautions they needed to take. This is notable because of the compassionate approach to care.
Areas where the CQC has highlighted notable practice include where a provider was a member of the National Phobics Society, which is an organisation that helps to support people who are affected by anxiety and phobias. The dentists used different methods to manage the care of nervous patients registered at the practice, such as an alert on the patient's notes on the computer system to identify them. The dentist and staff adapted their approach to these patients, which meant that they didn't need to refer them to external dental practices to be sedated or to have their treatment carried out under general anaesthetic. The dentist's management of nervous patients is notable practice because it demonstrates compassionate care.
Involving people in decisions about their care
Feedback is often a great way to show compliance with this area. Getting patients to comment is great to show that patients are feeling positively towards the staff and that they feel they are treated with respect and dignity and their human rights are respected. Another way could be to keep a folder full of thank you cards that patients have written.
Reports have highlighted areas were the staff have helped patients be involved in decisions about their care and were aware of the requirements under the Equality Act and the Accessible Information Standard (a requirement to make sure that patients and their carers can access and understand the information they are given). Examples included practices using interpretation services for patients who did not have English as a first language. Patients were also told about multi-lingual staff that might be able to support them. Staff communicated with patients in a way that they could understand, for example communication aids and easy read materials were available.
Other practices gave patients clear information to help them make informed choices. Patients confirmed that staff listened to them, did not rush them and discussed options for treatment with them. The dentist described the conversations they had with patients to satisfy themselves they understood their treatment options. For example, a dentist described to the CQC the methods they used to help patients understand their treatment options. These included photographs, X-ray images and an intra-oral camera. The dentist took photographs of the teeth and these were shown to the patient to help them better understand the diagnosis and treatment.
The practice’s website is an important tool too, to help provide patients with information about the range of treatments available at practices too.
Privacy and dignity
Respecting people’s privacy and confidentiality is very important and staff should know the importance of this. If possible, having a layout of reception and waiting areas that provide privacy when reception staff are dealing with patients can help. Other examples include having another room where patients can discuss their details in a more private setting if needed. Simple steps include having the reception computer screens not visible to other patients and staff not leaving personal information where other patients might see it.
Having password protected computers so that the patients’ electronic care records can only be accessed by authorised personnel and backing these up to secure storage also helps to show compliance in this area.
Practices should have as much information available for a practice inspection to show compliance as possible. This could be in the form of practice, policies, procedures, protocols (written and demonstrated by staff if possible). All the staff should be aware of these and be able to show their knowledge of them. All staff training logs and maintenance records should also be available and will help to show this.
The above examples and others throughout this article, should not be the only procedures in place during the inspections. Each practice and their circumstances will be individual, so you should ensure that all possible methods of showing compliance to the CQC are demonstrated by your practices.
- How CQC regulates: primary dental care practices – Provider handbook, CQC, March 2015
- Dentists: Information for providers, CQC
- Key Lines of Enquiry for healthcare services, CQC
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