The Commission on Residential Care was formed in July 2013 to
explore the future of residential care in its broadest sense – from care
homes to extra care villages and supported living, for older and
disabled people. Chaired by former Care Services Minister Paul Burstow
MP and composed of a group of academics, experts and practitioners
related to residential care, it has two main objectives. First, to
create a vision of ‘housing with care’, not bound by existing
definitions but based on the outcomes that people want and value.
And second, to set out how the existing offer could change to deliver
this vision, across financial, operational, governance and cultural
aspects of care. This is the final report of the Commission, which draws
on evidence gathered over the course of 12 months by the Demos
secretariat. This includes surveys, interviews and focus groups with
experts, care staff, disabled and older people and members of the
public; site visits and international trips; and two calls for evidence.
One of the most striking findings is the sheer impact of negative
public perceptions – the public broadly see care settings as places of
illness and frailty, where you would only go as a last resort. But
despite these perceptions, the sector is full of innovative and
excellent examples of high-quality, personalised and empowering care for
people with diverse and complex needs.
The Commission recommends a number of measures to embed good practice
and challenge public perceptions. These include enshrining a broader,
more accurate definition of ‘housing with care’ throughout government
policy; greater co-location of care settings with other community
services such as colleges; the expansion of CQC’s role in inspecting
commissioning practices; and promoting excellence in the profession
through the introduction of a license to practice and a living wage. The
Commission concludes that these measures, among others, could help
build a housing with care sector fit for the twenty-first century.