A Beginner’s Guide to Mock CQC Inspections

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

If you run or work in a care home, you know how important it is to be ready for CQC inspections. These visits check that your home is providing high quality, safe care. One way to get prepared is doing practice inspections. These are called cqc mock inspections or mock visits.

In this article, we will explain mock inspections for care homes in an easy way.

What are CQC Mock Inspections?

CQC Mock inspections are practice runs that pretend to be real CQC inspections. They help get care homes inspection-ready.

During a mock inspection, staff from the home play the part of CQC inspectors. They go around and inspect different areas just like a real CQC team would.

The practice inspectors look at things like:

Afterwards, they share what was done well and what needs improvement.


How are Mock Inspections Different from Real Ones?

Mock and real CQC inspections have some key differences:

  • Mock inspections are arranged by the care home. Real CQC visits are unannounced.
  • Internal staff do mock inspections. Real CQC inspections are done by external CQC inspectors.
  • The purpose of mock inspections is practice and learning. Real CQC inspections are for regulation.
  • Mock inspection results are kept internally. CQC reports are made public.
  • Mock inspections can happen frequently. Real CQC visits happen every 2 years or when concerns are reported.

So think of mock inspections like a fire drill. They let your team prepare and improve!

Table of Real Inspection vs Mock Inspection

DifferenceReal CQC InspectionMock CQC Inspection
PurposeTo regulate quality and safety standardsTo assess readiness and practice improvements
SchedulingUnannounced visitsPlanned internal drills
InspectorsExternal CQC inspectorsInternal staff acting as inspectors
Areas InspectedAll CQC standards and servicesCan focus on specific standards or departments
FrequencyEvery 2 years or if concerns ariseCan be done regularly (e.g. quarterly)
ReportingPublic ratings on CQC websiteInternal reports for improvement plans
Follow UpMandatory action plansVoluntary action plans and implementation
ConsequencesEnforcement action if standards unmetNo regulatory consequences; learning opportunity
Real CQC Inspection vs Mock CQC Inspection

Benefits of CQC Mock Inspections

Doing practice mock inspections provides many benefits, including:

  • Tests readiness for real CQC visits.
  • Identifies areas needing improvement.
  • Allows staff to experience an inspection.
  • Builds teamwork practicing together.
  • Reduces stress when real CQC comes.
  • Motivates staff to keep standards high.
  • Keeps policies, training and facilities up-to-date. Overall, mock inspections help care homes proactively maintain continuous quality and safety.

How to Organise a Mock Inspection

If you want to do a mock inspection, here are some tips:

  1. Pick a Team: Choose staff from different roles like care assistants, maintenance, kitchen, etc. Try for 5-8 mock inspectors.
  2. Schedule the Date: Pick a date for the mock inspection. Don’t tell other staff the exact date so it feels unannounced.
  3. Gather Checklists: Create checklists for inspectors covering areas like medicines, infection control, safety, food safety etc. Use CQC guidelines.
  4. Do the Mock Inspection: On the day, the mock inspection team should:
    • Tour the entire site including kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, storage areas etc.
    • Observe staff doing tasks like serving meals or passing medications.
    • Talk to staff and residents to gather feedback.
    • Review documents like care plans, safety logs, and policies.
    • Note if CQC standards are met and where improvements are needed.
  5. Afterwards, Debrief Have the mock inspection team present their findings to the home’s leadership and staff. Develop an action plan for improvement.
  6. Schedule Regularly Don’t just do one mock inspection. Repeat them quarterly to keep readiness high.

How Mock Inspections Help Your Home

Doing mock inspections provides many benefits for care homes:

  • Lets you find and resolve issues before the real CQC does.
  • Prepares staff for what to expect during the real thing.
  • Brings teams together to problem solve.
  • Identifies training needs to strengthen your practice.
  • Gives leadership insights into operations.
  • Motivates people to take pride in their facility.

Overall, mock inspections help your home maintain continuous excellence!

How Mock Inspections Help Staff

Mock inspections also benefit staff at care homes:

  • Being an inspector trainee boosts skills.
  • Going through an inspection reduces fear of the real one.
  • Coaching from peers builds confidence.
  • A more inspection-ready workplace is less stressful.
  • Performing well on a mock inspection feels rewarding.
  • Opportunity to share feedback and ideas.

Mock inspections ultimately empower staff.

How Mock Inspections Help Residents

Most importantly, mock inspections help residents of care homes:

  • Stronger CQC readiness means higher quality care.
  • Issues get addressed before harm occurs.
  • Staff learn and grow through practice.
  • A smooth inspection is less disruptive.
  • Demonstrates your home’s commitment to excellence. Residents benefit most from your home being inspection-ready.

Performing mock inspections takes work. But the payoff is invaluable for care homes seeking to provide the best in safety and care.

Preparing for a Practice CQC Visit with Your Team

A mock CQC inspection is like a practice drill for the real thing. Let’s talk about how to get ready so you and your team can really learn and improve!

First, take a look at your last real CQC report. Make a list of any problems they found. These are good spots for the mock inspectors to double-check. You want to be sure you fixed past issues.

Next, tell staff about the upcoming mock visit. Get their thoughts on what areas need work. They do the job every day, so they know! Make sure everyone knows the purpose is to get better as a team.

Now it’s time to assign “inspectors.” Pick staff from different roles like caregiving, kitchen, laundry, and office. This gives you a fuller view. Tell them to act just like real CQC inspectors would!

The mock inspectors need checklists covering all the CQC standards – things like:

  • safety,
  • cleanliness,
  • medicines,
  • dignity.

Use the real CQC guidelines so you get ready for the actual inspection.

During the mock visit, your inspectors should:

  1. Tour the whole building,
  2. watch care routines,
  3. talk to residents and staff, and
  4. examine records.

They need to take lots of notes!

Once your mock inspectors finish, gather all the staff to share results. Talk about what went well and where you need to work harder. Then make an improvement plan together.

Here’s the important part – actually follow through on changes!

Set deadlines and assign tasks so you turn that plan into real action.

When you’re done, think about how your mock visit went. What would make the next one even better? Update your checklists. Practice makes perfect!

Mock inspections take effort but they really pay off when the CQC comes. Preparing thoroughly helps your whole team provide the best care.

Do we offer Mock Inspection Service? Yes we do.

Our audit mock CQC inspections will be conducted in a fashion similar to a CQC inspection, which are mapped to Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOE’s).

We will carry out a thorough audit of your service to check if the service is safe, effective, caring, responsible and well-led.

The inspection is carried out by two experienced mock inspectors, including a medical doctor with vast experience and qualifications carrying out such inspections across the country.

The inspection length will depend on the size of your service.

We aim to highlight issues and concerns, giving you valuable time to address any that become apparent.

How Does This Work?

The inspection will involve gathering evidence from several sources:

  • Observing staff and service users
  • Speaking to staff
  • Speaking to service users, family members and carers
  • Looking at documentation
  • Medication audit involves MAR chart checks, stock in and out charts checks, physical stocks checks, CDs checks, Warfarin checks, etc
kloe model to cqc inspection

KLOE (Key Lines of Enquiry)

We will be using this methodology to carry out our mock inspections

The New Fundamental standards replace the old outcomes and are inspected under KLOE’s (Key Lines Of Enquiry)

  • Are they Safe 
  • Are they Effective 
  • Are they Caring 
  • Are they Responsive 
  • Are they Well-Led 

Documents we will want to see:

What you get from the mock inspection visit

1. Feedback

After the inspection, we will have a meeting with the management and provide our initial verbal inspection report making recommendations to improve your quality of care in all aspects.

In particular, whether it is safe, effective, responsive, caring and well-led.

We will go through all the regulations you have been failing to meet the standard.

2. Report

Within five working days, we will send you our full inspection report in writing.

With tips and guidance to improve your care practice and also necessary recommendations with a full action plan.

If you follow our instructions, recommendations and guidelines, we will guarantee that you will get an excellent report on your next inspection.

We will produce a SAR (Self-Assessment Record) alongside the KLOEs and record our findings on the report by conducting Staff File Audits, Policy and Procedure Reviews and Service User File Audits.

We will also hold informal discussions and observations with the Management Team, Staff Teams and Service Users to gain an understanding of their responsibilities, processes and requirements of the service. 

Once improvements are identified I usually develop a QIP (Quality Improvement Plan) and then feedback my findings to the provider. At this stage I will also revisit their previous CQC report and compare both outcomes with the provider to demonstrate the process made (if any in some cases). 

3. Support

If needed we will help you with ongoing support and guideance until you meet the right standards of care and also could do further monitoring if required.

Costs of This Service:

Costs are bespoke to the type and size of the service requiring mock inspection.

Get in touch today for an accurate quote.

Final Note:

Mock inspections are like friendly rehearsals before the main event, giving you a chance to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas to improve.

It’s a practice run to help you refine your performance and make a positive impression.

If you require an external organisation to conduct a CQC mock investigation with your team, we’re here to help.

We’ve assisted organisations facing similar CQC challenges. Call the number 01782 563333 or send an enquiry to enquiry@caringforcare.co.uk

Let us Help you

We’ll help you find the right course for your needs. Tell us a little bit about your situation and what you would like to achieve.

We’ll get back to you within one working day.