Intent of this requirement
This requirement is about the expectation that the service environment is safe, clean, well maintained and comfortable. It also covers the need for consumers to be able to move freely around the service environment, indoors and outdoors.
The service environment is expected to be fit for purpose in line with statutory requirements and national best practice. Each service environment is different. This means that organisations should consider the layout, the potential number of consumers using the service, and their needs to make sure the service environment is safe, clean, well maintained and comfortable. It can include buildings, access points, parking areas, gardens and the service environment’s general appearance and homeliness.
The service environment is expected to promote the free movement of consumers (including to access outdoor areas). It may be important that the service environment is secure to prevent consumers from leaving if they shouldn’t. This may also mean restricting access to certain areas to help create a safe service environment for consumers. For example some consumers may present a risk of harm to themselves or others in a kitchen area. It is important however, that this does not result in all consumers being denied access to the kitchen. Arrangements to protect consumers should be in line with their assessed care and services plan and be as least restrictive as possible in line with best practice.
If third parties provide maintenance or other services, the organisation should clearly define their responsibilities in regard to the service environment. Organisations are responsible for monitoring and dealing with any issues that come up with contracted services.
- How does the organisation avoid environmental risks to keep consumers safe? Do they monitor and fix any safety issues, obstacles, barriers, poor lighting, glare or hazards?
- How does the organisation look after the safety of each consumer? For example, how would a consumer who is hearing impaired know an emergency alarm is going?
- Can the atmosphere, size and shape of spaces in the service environment be changed? Can the service environment be controlled so that the level of stimulation in spaces meets consumers’ diverse sensory and comfort needs?
- How do workforce attitudes and their understanding of risk and safety, affect a consumer being able to move freely in the service environment, indoors and outdoors?
- How do workforce attitudes and their understanding of dignity of risk, affect a consumer being able to move freely indoors and outdoors?
- Is the level of security in place in balance with the care and services being delivered?
Examples of actions and evidence
- Consumers say the service environment makes them feel welcome.
- Consumers say they feel safe in the service environment and know how to let the workforce know if they don’t feel safe.
- Consumers say the service environment is clean, well maintained and comfortable.
- Consumers say the service environment has plenty of natural light and fresh air and they can change the lighting, air flow and heating to make the service environment more comfortable.
- Consumers say they can move freely within the service environment and access the parts of the service they use independently, including the outdoor environment.
Workforce and others
- The workforce can describe their responsibilities to protect consumers from avoidable harm.
- The workforce demonstrates their knowledge of how to respond to a safety incident, hazard or emergency.
- The workforce can describe strategies to make sure consumers who can’t move about on their own can access the outdoors if they wish.
- The workforce can explain how landmarks in the service environment help consumers find their way around and support consumers’ independence. For example how discrete safeguards mean consumers living with dementia can safely access areas, such as kitchenettes.
- Workforce orientation, training or other records that show how the organisation has supported the workforce in this requirement.
- Evidence the organisation has a range of strategies to create a relaxed, welcoming, peaceful, safe and comfortable service environment in line with consumers’ needs and preferences.
- Observations that risks to consumers are unobtrusively managed and any security measures in place in the service environment reflect the consumer’s assessed needs.
- Observations that the service environment enables consumers to move safely about the service indoors and out.
- Evidence that the organisation asks for consumers’ opinions when making decisions about the layout of the service environment.
- Evidence that the organisation asks for consumers’ opinions about how space in the service environment is used so that consumers can keep active and move around as much as possible.
- Evidence that any restriction in place at the service environment which impacts a consumer is based on the least restrictive option. The basis for any restriction is also up-to-date, evidence-based, transparent and able to be reviewed.
- Evidence the organisation has arrangements to maintain the internal and external service environment. This makes sure the environment is comfortable, safe and secure.
- Records that the organisation has arrangements for cleaning the internal and external service environment. This includes removing general and hazardous waste.