In this post we explain what the Provider Information Return (PIR) is, what it means for providers, and why it matters.

PIR forms are intrinsically linked to KLOEs, and are designed to assist inspectors to gather useful information about an adult care provider before an inspection takes place. The content requested includes key data, as well as some information in response to the five key questions: Is a service safe, effective, caring, responsive and well-led. This pre-inspection questionnaire is sent to providers in order to help the CQC determine which areas the inspectors will focus on during their visit. To help adult care organisations complete the form, the CQC also provides the accompanying document, How to complete the provider information return (PIR). This booklet provides guidance to adult care providers on how they can best complete the PIR.

Not only do CQC inspectors use these forms to learn about how an adult care provider operates, they also wish to learn which aspects of care an organisation values the most in their practice. While the PIR questions are specific, these forms are not prescriptive in how the questions should be answered. The only key expectations of the CQC is that responses are to be concise, and that they provide examples. With a maximum character limit of 2,500 for each free text answer, organisations need to be smart to ensure they provide as much information and evidence as possible, while fitting within the space provided. No supporting documentation can be attached to the PIR, so evidence must be solely provided within the form itself. However, the CQC has stated that they will contact adult care providers following the PIR submission if they require further information.

It is essential that providers have up-to-date, accurate records that they can refer to when completing the PIR. Accessing the correct documentation easily and quickly can be a major issue for adult care providers, as the volume of records needed when reflecting on 12 months’ worth of data can be immense. An example of the detail of information sought in the PIR can be found in section 1d. ‘Drugs and Medicine’. This section asks providers to detail all medicine errors in the previous 12 months. This includes when a dose was missed, wrongly recorded, given to the wrong person, administered in an incorrect manner, when the wrong medicine was given, or when too little or too much medicine was administered. Providing this high volume of information means adult care providers must store their documentation in an easy to access manner. Software solutions that provide electronic care plans, notes and charts are an effective way to store and access documentation simply, and are proving increasingly popular as the push for evidence based reporting continues.

While the prospect of KLOE and the PIR can seem daunting when faced with them for the first time, the heart of these initiates is about ensuring older people throughout the UK are given safe, compassionate, effective and high-quality care; something all adult care providers wish to achieve. By ensuring documentation is up to date and accurate, and that staff are well informed about the process of inspections, adult social care organisations can prepare themselves for CQC inspections to the best of their ability.

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