How to find top quality care

First published on 22 of March 2018 • Updated 11 of April 2018

The right care can make a huge difference to your life. It should truly support your welfare, not just your immediate health, so finding good quality care is a must. But how can you be confident of finding a good care provider before you try them out? Fortunately, there are some simple ways to check.

What does ‘quality care’ mean?

From your point of view, quality care should mean certain key benefits. For example, good care should:

  • Make your life easier
  • Help you feel safer
  • Let you feel comfortable
  • Give you as much freedom as possible
  • Meet your specific needs
  • Not interfere with your lifestyle more than is necessary

Most importantly you should feel happy and secure with your care worker(s), and there should be mutual respect between you. Often you can tell when your care is good, because you start to see your care worker as a friend. Finally, you should never be afraid to raise a complaint if something is wrong.

To find care that measures up to these high standards, you should look for care providers that have a good rating from the regulator.

Who regulates care?

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates all care in England and sets standards for how care should be provided. Every organisation that provides care (including including homecare, hospitals, residential care, social care etc.) must register with the CQC.

The CQC inspects every care provider against strict criteria and (usually) assigns a rating. Every provider must meet certain fundamental standards to be able to operate, but the ratings give a more detailed picture of where the provider’s strengths and weaknesses are.

How do the CQC’s ratings work?

There are four CQC quality ratings:

  • Outstanding (green star) – This care providers is considered exceptional.
  • Good (green) – This care provider meets CQC’s standards and is working well.
  • Requires improvement (amber) – The CQC has noticed some areas that don’t quite meet the requirements, and has told the provider how to improve.
  • Inadequate (red) – This care provider does not meet required standards and the CQC is taking action against it.

You can find out the ratings for care providers on their website, where they must display them by law. You can also look up a provider on the CQC website. In residential care homes, ratings should be on public display. 

Unbiased will only connect you to care providers rated either good or outstanding.

How can I find out more about a care provider?

When the CQC inspects a care provider, it will produce an inspection report which you can download free from the CQC website. This gives a detailed overview of how well the provider achieves its targets of being

  • Safe
  • Effective
  • Caring
  • Responsive
  • Well-led

Each of these areas is given its own rating, in addition to the overall provider rating. For instance, a provider rated ‘good’ overall may rate ‘exceptional’ for one area (e.g. safe) or ‘requires improvement’ in another (e.g. responsive).

The inspection report covers each of these areas in detail, to explain why each has been given its assigned rating. It’s a very good idea to read through the inspection report of any care provider before engaging them.

How to report a problem with a care provider

The CQC doesn’t deal with complaints, so your first option is to complain directly to the provider if you’re not satisfied. The provider should have a complaints procedure in place and look into the matter for you. If the problem isn’t resolved in this way, or is very serious, your next option should be to contact your local council who can take any necessary action.

What kind of care services can I find through Unbiased?

You can use the Unbiased website to find homecare providers in your area who are rated good or outstanding.

Let us match you to your perfect care provider