CQC Framework: Empowering Person-Centered Care for Learning Disabilities

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is revamping how they assess care providers. This guide dives into what this means for learning disability services, with a particular focus on empowering person-centered care.

Shifting the Focus to Individuality

The recently introduced framework lays significant emphasis on person-centred care. This approach is fundamentally about ensuring that the services provided are bespoke, respecting and upholding the individual choices of each patient, their inherent dignity, and their active involvement in the decision-making process. It’s about acknowledging the patient as an individual with unique needs and preferences, and not merely a case number or a diagnosis.
This shift towards person-centred care might represent a substantial change for healthcare providers who are more accustomed to traditional healthcare guidance. This is particularly true for those working in long-stay settings such as care homes, residential care facilities, and long-term acute care hospitals, where routines and protocols have been deeply ingrained over time.

The transition to a more person-centred approach may necessitate a re-evaluation of established practices and a willingness to embrace new methods of delivering care. It’s about moving away from a one-size-fits-all model of care to one that sees and treats the patient as a whole person, taking into account their physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.

But how can this shift towards person-centred care be implemented effectively? Here are some tips


  • Strengthen Communication: Hold regular meetings with families and loved ones (with the service user’s consent) and establish clear communication channels.
  • Personalized Care Plans: Review all care plans to ensure they are comprehensive, individualised, and detail the person’s needs, abilities, and preferences.
  • Accessibility Matters: Provide information in accessible and understandable ways for service users.
  • Promoting Independence: Encourage activities that promote independence and document positive risk-taking to foster a sense of empowerment.

Clearer Quality Benchmarks

The CQC has replaced the vast amount of Key Lines of Enquiries with 34 concise “quality statements.” This simplifies understanding expectations for good care.

Meeting the New Quality Standards:

  • Record Keeping is Key: Prepare a record of incidents, complaints, and actions taken in the past year.
  • Preparedness Pays Off: Review and update your business continuity plan.
  • Feedback Loop: Ensure you are undertaking regular staff, relative, professional, and next of kin surveys, and document lessons learned and actions taken.
  • Understanding the Standards: Read the quality statements, involve your team, and begin gathering evidence to demonstrate compliance.

Enhancing Quality of Life  

The CQC’s draft quality of life framework is a significant step towards ensuring that the needs of people with learning disabilities are met. It provides a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines that services must adhere to, thereby ensuring that the care provided is of the highest quality.

One of the key aspects of the framework is its focus on individualised care. It recognises that each person with learning disabilities has unique needs and preferences. Therefore, it encourages services to adopt a person-centred approach, tailoring care plans to suit the individual’s specific needs.

The framework also emphasises the importance of promoting independence and autonomy. It encourages services to provide opportunities for people with learning disabilities to make decisions about their own care. This not only enhances their quality of life but also fosters a sense of self-worth and dignity.

Furthermore, the framework highlights the need for regular assessments and reviews. This ensures that the care provided remains relevant and effective, adapting to the changing needs of the individual. It also allows for the identification of any areas of concern, enabling timely interventions.

In addition, the framework advocates for the involvement of family members and loved ones in the care process. Recognising their invaluable insights and contributions, it promotes a collaborative approach to care planning and decision-making.

Elevating your Quality of Care

  • Embrace the Toolkit: Review and understand the CQC toolkit, particularly its 17 key questions. Integrate these questions into your own audits and benchmark your service against them.
  • Actionable Insights: Ensure actions taken based on your new audit are documented and evidenced for continuous improvement.

Staff Training and Development: A Cornerstone of Quality

While staff training isn’t formally mandated in the framework, it’s undeniably crucial.

Investing in Your Team:

  • Training Matrix: Collate all the training you currently offer onto a training matrix.
  • Training Guide: Ensure there’s a training guide that captures the frequency of training for different roles.
  • Documenting Development: Document and capture role-specific and person-specific training that helps meet the needs of the people you support.
  • Evidence-Based Improvement: Capture evidence where training has demonstrably improved care, such as positive behavior support and de-escalation training leading to reduced medication use.
  • External Support: Seek support from external specialists – document and evidence their contributions.
  • Continuous Learning: Ensure all staff have Continuous Professional Development (CPD) plans in place.
  • Collaborative Spirit: Staff should be competent in working collaboratively with colleagues, families, and other professionals. Ensure they have the skills and confidence to do so, and document and capture where this collaboration is happening and the impact it has on those you support.


This guide also provides practical strategies for implementing person-centred care in your organisation. It offers insights into how to foster a culture that values individuality and promotes dignity and respect. This involves not only the way care is delivered, but also how staff interact with each other and with those they serve. It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

Moreover, this guide underscores the importance of continuous learning and improvement. It encourages providers to regularly review and update their practices in line with the latest research and best practices in the field. This commitment to ongoing development ensures that the care provided remains relevant, effective, and in line with the expectations of those you serve.

Finally, this guide recognises the crucial role of family and loved ones in the care process. It promotes the inclusion of family members and loved ones in care planning and decision-making, acknowledging their unique insights and contributions. This collaborative approach not only enhances the quality of care but also strengthens the bonds between the individual, their family, and the care provider.

If you’d like to learn more about how Sidqam helps provide a modular and tailored virtual wards solution, feel free to reach out to one of our team or book a demo today and learn more about our software solutions for senior living, learning disability and remote care environments.