Infection control and the S.A.F.E. icon on Autumna

Infection control and the S.A.F.E. icon on Autumna

S.A.F.E. stands for Symptom Assessment For Everyone.

It represents an infection control goal that Autumna believes providers of elderly care are striving for.

S.A.F.E. (Symptom Assessment for Everyone).

Whether its through better training of staff, easily available PPE supplies, or assistive technology and AI that allows regular, faster and more accurate symptom assessment, S.A.F.E. aims to reassure people looking for elderly care, that the service they choose will be safe.

People looking for elderly care need to know that the care provider they choose to spend their latter days with, has stringent infection control policies and procedures in place.

S.A.F.E. (Symptom Assessment for Everyone).
S.A.F.E. icon on a care profile

Who can display the S.A.F.E. icon on Autumna?

Care providers who display the S.A.F.E. icon on their Autumna profile, in the first instance, must have uploaded their individual CQC (Care Quality Commission) Covid-19 Emergency Support Framework report onto the site. 

S.A.F.E. (Symptom Assessment for Everyone).
CQC COVID Summary Record

What is the CQC Covid-19 Emergency Support Framework report?

The CQC Emergency Support Framework report is an independent assessment, based on the answers to 15 questions asked by the CQC, during the coronavirus pandemic, of each individual care home in the country.

It aims to document how well a particular care home or care provider has managed the COVID outbreak. It also gives the best guide available, at the moment, as to how well that care home, or care provider, will be able to control infection in the future.


S.A.F.E. does not mean the care provider is COVID-free.

S.A.F.E. simply means that the care provider is being transparent about their response to the coronavirus pandemic and about how they manage any infection control in their individual care setting.

What if a care provider doesn’t display the S.A.F.E. icon?

It is not mandatory that care providers publish their CQC Covid-19 summary reports. It is very much a discretionary decision.

Many care providers though, told Autumna that they wanted to publish their report, but had nowhere, apart from their own websites, where they could do this easily.  All we have done at Autumna is to give them a third-party platform which makes it possible .

Autumna on laptop screen
An easier way to search for care

At Autumna, our mantra is transparency.

Our mission at Autumna has always been to enable families, who are looking for elderly care for their loved ones, to make the right choices. This means the information they need has to be displayed in an easy-to-navigate, easy-to-compare way.

Families looking for elderly care need to be able to filter their searches by the things that matter to them.

Too often, the information that people have needed to make the right choices on later life care, has been hidden, or at the very least, published in a way that has made it difficult to find and to compare.

Are care homes safe?

During the COVID crisis the one question everyone looking for elderly care asked was:

“Are care homes safe?”

In the absence of any definitive published data, and through anecdotal evidence fuelled by negative media reports, the general conclusion they reached was:

“No. Care homes are not safe.”

Public perception is rarely the reality.

Through our daily conversations with care providers in the social care sector, Autumna estimated that at least 60% of care homes had not had any residents with the virus, and many more were managing the virus well and were in control of the situation.

We feel that, if confidence in the safety of elderly care services, and care homes in particular, is to be restored, then there has to be some sort of systematic way that a provider of elderly care can counteract a negative publicity story with hard evidence.

The key is third-party validation.

As S.A.F.E. develops, Autumna will publish reports on staff training – what qualifications social care workers have received in infection control.

It will detail any new technologies employed by a service that, for example, disinfects or eradicates bacteria. Technologies that allow service users, carers and visitors, to be easily tested for infection symptoms, with results transmitted immediately to relevant monitors.

The CQC Emergency Support Framework report is not enough, but it is a start. Going forward we hope that people looking for elderly care on Autumna, will be able to easily find the answer to the question:

“Will my elderly relative be safe in this care home?”

The 15 questions asked of care providers in the CQC Emergency Framework Summary are:

Assessment Area 1

Safe care and treatment

1.1 Had risks related to infection prevention and control, including in relation to COVID-19, been assessed and managed?

1.2 Were there sufficient quantities of the right equipment to help the provider manage the impact of COVID-19?

1.3 Was the environment suitable to containing an outbreak?

1.4 Were systems clear and accessible to staff, service users and any visitors to the service?

1.5 Were medicines managed effectively?

1.6 Had risk management systems been able to support the assessment of both existing and COVID-19 related risks?

Assessment Area 2

Staffing arrangements

2.1 Were there enough suitable staff to provide safe care and treatment in a dignified and respectful way during the Covid-19 pandemic?

2.2 Were there realistic and workable plans for managing staffing levels if the pandemic leads to shortfalls and emergencies?

Assessment Area 3

Protection from abuse

3.1 Were people using the service being protected from abuse, neglect and discrimination?

3.2 Had the provider been able to properly manage any safeguarding incidents or concerns during the pandemic?

Assessment Area 4

Assurance processes, monitoring and risk management

4.1 Had the provider been able to take action to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of staff?

4.2 Had the provider been able to implement effective systems to monitor and react to the overall quality and safety of care

4.3 Is the provider able to support staff to raise concerns during the pandemic?

4.4 Had care and treatment provided to people being sufficiently recorded during the Covid-19 pandemic?

4.5 Had the provider been able to work effectively with system partners when care and treatment is commissioned, shared or transferred?

The answers to these questions were then assessed and an overall summary of how the care provider coped with the pandemic, was outlined by the CQC.


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