National care standards support services

National care standards support services Edition

1-6 Before using the support service

1 Informing and deciding
2 Management and staffing arrangements
3 Your legal rights
4 Support arrangements
5 Your environment
6 First meetings

Before using the support service

Introduction to standards 1 to 6

The right to make informed choices is one of the main principles behind the national care standards. The support services you choose should offer real opportunities for personal development and help you to maintain your independence.

Standards in this section are grouped around those aspects of the support service that are offered from the start, which will help you to make a judgement about what your quality of life will be as a result of using the service.

Informing and deciding

You must have proper information to help you reach a decision. You can expect it to be up to date and reliable, in a format and language that you can easily understand and keep.

Management and staffing arrangements - your legal rights

You must be confident that the support service is managed properly and that all staff (including volunteers) receive the support and training they need to provide good quality support and care, in line with relevant legislation and guidelines.

Support arrangements

You will want to know that the support service can meet your particular needs as well as giving you the opportunity to maintain or develop your interests. Personal plans take account of this, and describe the way you will receive the individual support and care that you need. You can expect that the provider will discuss your needs with you before offering you a place in the support service. You can also expect that your personal plan will change as your needs for support change.

Your environment

Some support services are based in centres but they can be provided in a wide range of premises. These can be owned or leased by the provider or hired by the provider for people to use the support services, for example, church halls. Some premises are owned or leased by the provider in partnership with other agencies and are used by people using the support services and other members of the public. You can expect that any premises used by the support service will meet the appropriate standards and can accommodate you and any equipment you need.

First meetings

Being able to meet staff from the support service and to visit the service and spend some time talking to other people who use it will be essential to making a positive choice about using the service. You may sometimes want your relatives, carers, friends or representatives to be involved as part of helping you to decide. You can expect that providers will respect your need to have enough time to make a decision.

Informing and deciding

Standard 1
You have all the information you need to help you decide about using the support service.

1 You have detailed information about the support service in plain English or in a language or format that you can easily understand. The information covers:

  • the aims of the support service;
  • who it is for;
  • the kind of support service it provides;
  • the cultural needs it caters for;
  • the basic cost of the support service and the likely charge to you;
  • your rights and responsibilities as someone who uses the support service;
  • insurance cover for you and your belongings;
  • policies and procedures for managing risk and recording and reporting accidents and incidents;
  • policies and procedures for the possession of unauthorised alcohol or unauthorised and or illegal drugs while using the support service;
  • arrangements that need to be made if the support service closes or there is a change of ownership;
  • the complaints procedure and how to use it;
  • any policies about personal belongings;
  • any restrictions on smoking and alcohol;
  • arrangements with local health and social work services; and
  • the most recent Care Commission inspection report.

2 Your family, carer or representative's need for information, advice and support will be respected and responded to.

Management and staffing arrangements

Standard 2
You experience good quality support and care. This is provided by management and staff whose professional training and expertise allows them to meet your needs. The service operates in line with all applicable legal requirements.

1 You can be assured that the support service has policies and procedures which cover all legal requirements applicable to the type of service it is providing. These can include:

  • staffing and training;
  • administration of medication;
  • health and safety;
  • 'whistle-blowing';
  • environmental health;
  • fire safety;
  • managing risk; and
  • proper record-keeping, including recording accidents, incidents and complaints.

2 You can be confident that staff know how to put these policies and procedures into practice. They have regular training to review this and to learn about new guidance.

3 You can be confident that the staff providing your support and care have the knowledge and skills gained from the experience of working with people whose needs are similar to yours. If they are new staff, they are being helped to get this experience as part of a planned training programme.

4 You can be confident that all the staff use methods that reflect up-to-date knowledge and best-practice guidance, and that the management are continuously striving to improve practice.

5 You know that the support service's staff, managers and volunteers are all recruited and selected through a process which includes:

  • taking up references;
  • criminal records checks where required; and
  • cross-reference to the registers of the Scottish Social Services Council, United Kingdom Central Council for Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors ( UKCC), or other professional organisations, where appropriate.

6 You can be confident that any volunteers who work in the support service are familiar with its policies and procedures. They receive all the relevant training to help them put these into practice.

7 You can be confident that at all times the number and skills mix of staff will be sufficient to meet your support and care needs. The staffing arrangements are agreed between the Care Commission and the provider.

8 You know that the service has a staff development strategy and an effective yearly training plan for all its staff.

9 You can be confident that the manager takes an active approach to managing risk which results in safe systems of work, safe practices, safe premises and an awareness of danger and liability, and that these areas will be discussed with you in relation to your personal plan.

10 You know that the support service has a written policy and procedures on the conditions under which restraint is used, and that staff are fully trained and supported in the use of restraint. 1 If it is necessary to restrain you on certain occasions this will be written into your personal plan and records kept of any incidents involving your restraint. You can expect to be supported after any episode of restraint.

11 If your medicines are being organised for you, you can be sure that the staff who are doing this are knowledgeable and trained to do so, following up-to-date best practice guidance. The staff are fully aware of the provider's systems for giving medication. They know how to store and administer your medication safely and in the way that suits you best.

12 You can be sure that, whether or not you are organising your own medication, the staff are trained to check this. They will, with your agreement, get advice from your GP if there are any concerns about your condition or the medication.

13 You know that whenever staff are involved in any financial transaction, it will be carefully recorded. This will be in a way that can be checked by the Care Commission.

Your legal rights

Standard 3
You have a written agreement which clearly defines the support service that will be provided to meet your needs. It sets out the terms and conditions for receiving the support service and arrangements for changing or ending the contract.

1 You will have a copy of this written agreement in a language and format you can understand.

2 You can ask for, and be given, a full list of the support service's policies and procedures.

3 You can ask for, and be given, confirmation that the support service complies with all relevant legislation and guidance, such as that relating to fire, health and safety procedures and risk management, whether in a building or community-based service.

4 You or your representative will be able to inspect certificates and permits.

Support arrangements

Standard 4
You will have a planned introduction to the support service based on your personal plan. You will be involved in developing your personal plan with trained staff.

1 You can be confident that the support service has a prompt and effective system for responding to requests for service which includes a procedure for responding to emergency requests.

2 You have a named member of staff who is responsible for your care and support.

3 You are involved in planning and agreeing your personal plan.

4 Your personal plan reflects your hopes, needs and choices.

5 Within the first four weeks of being with the support service, you will be given every opportunity to discuss your needs with staff, who will help with any difficulties.

6 Your personal plan is reviewed regularly and whenever you or the support service manager asks.

7 Your personal plan includes information and decisions about:

  • what you prefer to be called;
  • your social, cultural, spiritual and health needs and how these are to be met;
  • any specialist equipment you need and how this will be provided;
  • any communication needs and how these will be met;
  • what communication arrangements need to be put in place if your first language is not English;
  • who should be involved in your personal plan reviews;
  • what food and drink you prefer and any special dietary needs;
  • your health needs and how these will be met, including:
  • arrangements for taking medication; and
  • any measures of restraint which staff may have to use for your own safety or for the safety of others;
  • an independent person to contact if you want to make a complaint or raise a concern;
  • leisure interests; and
  • decisions on potential risks.

8 You have a copy of your personal plan.

Your environment

[These standards apply when the support service is offered in premises belonging to the provider or where the premises are leased by the provider (individually or in partnership with other agencies) to provide support services.]

Standard 5
You can be confident that the building is accessible and designed so that it provides a safe, open and pleasant environment which strikes a balance between private, group and public space.

1 You can be confident that the grounds and the outside of the building are well maintained and are not identifiable in a way that stigmatises you as a user of support services.

2 You know that the design of the building and its fittings help you to maintain and increase your independence.

3 You can expect that the premises are kept clean, hygienic and free from offensive smells and intrusive sounds. They will comply with current fire regulations, health and safety requirements and environmental health regulations.

4 You can be confident that the staff make sure that you know what to do if there is a fire.

5 You can ask for, and be given, evidence that the provider has the necessary insurance for employees and public liability, and has building and contents insurance. The provider will make sure you are helped to make suitable arrangements for your personal belongings if this is not covered by the provider's insurance.

6 You will have access to secure storage facilities.

7 If you are a smoker, you will know if you can smoke on the premises and, if so, whereabouts.

8 You can be confident that there will be a range of appropriate recreational and craft equipment inside the building. Where possible, the grounds around the building will be used for outdoor activities.

First meetings

Standard 6
You can meet staff and management and visit the support service before starting to use it.

1 Where the support service is based at a centre, you will have the opportunity to visit and meet staff and other people who use support services at least once to help you reach a decision about using the support service.

2 If the support service is based in the community, you will have the opportunity to meet people from the service or to use the support service for a limited period until you and others who are involved in your personal plan agree that it will meet your needs.

3 If you want, your carer or representative will be involved in the meetings or visits.

1 Restraint: Control to prevent a person from harming themselves or other people by the use of: physical means (actual or threatened laying on of hands on a person to stop them carrying out a particular action); mechanical means (for example, wrapping someone in a sleeping bag or strapping them in a chair); environmental means (for example, electronic locking of doors or video surveillance); or medication (using sedative or tranquilising drugs for the symptomatic treatment of restless or agitated behaviour).

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