Outstanding Care Homes: A Guide on How to Reach CQC Outstanding

Being recognised as one of the select CQC Outstanding care homes is a testament to the quality of care that you give day in, day out. Only the top 1% of care homes are classed as Outstanding. The majority of care homes in England are classed as Good – 78% according to CQC’s State of Care report for 2016/17 – and are looking to improve further. This brief guide will give you the most important factors in how to improve and get that all-important CQC Outstanding.


What is CQC?


CQC is the Care Quality Commission, who are the independent regulator of health and social care in England. They register and inspect care homes across the country, and ensure that key guidelines are being followed so that the best care possible is delivered. Their criteria are that services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care, and encourages improvement. CQC Outstanding is the top rating, and a sliding scale through Good, Requires Improvement and Inadequate.


What are the CQC Outstanding Care Homes doing?



Effective and well-supported leadership is integral to achieving an Outstanding classification. A registered manager with an innovative approach, who is open to feedback and actively searches for the best practice of delivering care, is the ideal. Management structures must also be clear to everyone – staff, people using the service, carers and families – through being open, welcoming and visible on the ground.

Outstanding leadership also requires a genuine appreciation for equality and diversity, both in terms of people using the service and in terms of staff. Along with this, managers should truly value their staff, supporting them in maintaining best practice and by recognising ‘champions’ of care. In return, care home staff must also value and support the management team, and encourage an open and transparent team structure.

This is the area that care homes across the country most need to improve on. According the CQC’s State of Care report for 2016/17, 22% of care homes Required Improvement and 2% (around 600) were Inadequate.


Person-centred care is a priority for CQC Outstanding care homes

Person-centred care

This may seem obvious, but it is a factor that’s determined by the service’s leadership and management. If the service is fronted by good, caring leadership, then that example becomes standard practice. Getting to know people as people is of the upmost importance, and a greater understanding of their interests means that care can be optimised.

A Good ‘Caring’ rating is the case for 92% of care homes, with 3% classed as CQC Outstanding in 2016/17. This shows that staff across the country are working incredibly hard to ensure that a personal, caring service is given. This criteria that has real potential for significant Outstanding classifications.



As with person-centred care, this should probably go without saying. However, along with Leadership, 22% of care homes in England were classified as Requiring Improvement for safety in 2016/17. Much of this can come down to ‘blanket’ approaches to safety – locking doors because some residents may leave the building unnoticed, for instance. This can have an adverse effect on other ‘non-risk’ residents who are indiscriminately restricted as a result, and the question of safety can become more complex. Ensuring medication and controlled drug application is correct is integral, oo.

In general, safety is often compromised when staff levels are low. With less staff, there is less time to train new staff effectively, and the cycle can continue. It is something that needs nipping in the bud, and effective leadership can really make a difference. Ensuring staff are correctly trained and properly supported will help reduce the issue of staff shortages and resident safety

It is worth noting that safety can also relate to data kept in digital management systems. CQC themselves have noted the importance of ensuring the data records must be kept protected in their Safe Data, Safe Care publication.


These are core principles that will help ensure that you can be one of the country’s CQC Outstanding care homes. If you’re looking to improve the medical equipment and resources in your residency, we have a great range of products available.