CQC launches guidance on relationships and sexuality in adult social care services

Care Quality Commission launches guidance for inspectors and care providers

Published on 7th March 2019

Guidance designed to raise awareness among inspectors and providers of the sexuality-related needs of people using adult social care services has been launched by the Care Quality Commission.

The guidance builds on the CQC's quality framework but adds further information on issues like relationships, diversity and protecting people from harm. It also covers a diverse range of often complex issues, including supporting people to form and maintain relationships, while also helping them to understand risks. It also highlights the importance of offering an environment that is welcoming to LGBT+ people, as well as looking at how to support those with physical disabilities.

The guidance was developed with the support of a number of providers and public representative bodies. Claire Bates of the Supported Loving campaign and Sue Sharples of U-Night Group said: "This is a long-awaited document that will give providers clarity and direction in relation to a sensitive and complex area of need.

"It affirms the link between supporting opportunities for sexual expression and personal wellbeing, within a framework of care services' regulatory responsibilities.

"Our organisations were pleased to be consulted in the development phase of the guidance, including gaining the perspective of members with a learning disability," she added.

CQC guidance focuses on people’s relationships and sexuality in social care services for adults receiving personal care and support. It focuses on caring for people who need support to express their sexuality and to have their needs met.

It states that providers need to understand the importance of enabling people to manage their sexuality needs which includes making sure people have access to education and information to help them develop and maintain relationships and express their sexuality. Providers also need to understand the risks associated with people’s sexuality needs, and recognise and support these needs, so that they do not risk discriminating against people or breaching their human rights.

Debbie Westhead, Acting Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, said: "We know that the best care is person-centred and in supporting relationships and sexuality there can be no one approach that fits all.

"Supporting people to build and maintain relationships in the way they want to is incredibly important, regardless of who they are or what stage of life they are at.
This guidance aims to ensure providers are supporting people to form and maintain sexual relationships that meet their needs, while also helping them to understand risks," she added.

Relationships and sexuality in adult social care services

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