New Guidance from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on how Care Providers Should Consider People's Relationship and Sexuality Needs

The ‘Relationships and sexuality in adult social care services’ summary guidance published by CQC is designed to raise awareness among inspectors and providers of the sexuality-related needs of people using adult social care services.

The guidance highlights the importance of supporting people to form and maintain relationships, and considers circumstances where some people may be at risk of harm.

The definition of sexuality within the guidance is deliberately broad to try to capture the range of different experiences people may have. It is designed to support inspectors and providers to sensitively navigate this complex area in a practical way, to promote the best experiences for people. There is information at the end of the guidance to signpost readers to further information and support.

Building on CQC’s quality framework, the guidance adds further detail on issues including relationships, diversity and protecting people from harm. It 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.

In response to the new guidance, Debbie Westhead, Interim Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC, 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.

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