is the Development Director at the National Care Association and a Residential
Forum member. Her career in social care began over thirty years ago
as a practitioner providing social care.
My first experience of a care home for the elderly was in the 1980, this
first thing that hit me as I walked through the door was the smell and how drab
the place was, it was a council run service.
The residents were quite mobile, most could walk around the service,
some were able to go out and had their own car.
There wasn’t a lot going on and those residents who could not go out sat
around the edge of the room and appeared to be pretty bored.
The residents were well looked after in terms of food and they did not
feel isolated nor lonely.
Contrast this with the sector today, there are few council run services;
most of the care homes (94%) have less than 50 beds.
Woe betide the service that smells – and quite right! Services are
expected to provide stimulating activities to residents to enhance the quality
A care home Manager said to me recently, ‘People no longer walk into our
care home when they come to live here, they are wheeled’.
The expectations of staff skills and competency have increased, care
workers now undertake tasks which at one time was reserved to nurses.
In England CQC rated 80% of care homes and 68% of nursing homes as good.
Contrary to the perception provided by the media – care homes are well run, safe,
responsive and caring places where communal living occurs and thrives.
So why hasn’t the
image of care homes changed?
Society supports, and admires hospice care – where people go at the end
their life – yet care homes provide good quality end of life care, so how do
they achieve the status and affection in society’s heart that hospices occupy?
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