The case for an overhaul of national minimum standards for care
providers has been strengthened by research showing they do not
measure important outcomes for users.
The study of 52 care homes for people with learning difficulties
finds there is almost no correlation between providers’ ratings and
ratings given by researchers for residents’ quality of life.
The research, carried out by the Tizard Centre at Kent
University, will lend weight to the Commission for Social Care
Inspection’s call for significant reform of the standards.
The report says: “[The findings] suggest that the national
minimum standards do not yet reflect important user outcomes. The
review and reform of the standards and inspection processes… is
therefore timely and appropriate.”
CSCI chief inspector David Behan said that the organisation
expected changes in the wake of the government review.
“The Tizard Centre research produces valuable evidence to inform
the review,” Behan said.
The researchers said their measures were designed to evaluate
residents’ “day-to-day experience” of care, including
age-appropriateness of activities and staff contact.
The report adds: “These are outcomes of central importance in
the day-to-day lives of people and to have a national system of
quality assurance which fails to capture them may be difficult to
The standards are intended to focus on “achievable outcomes” for
users but have been criticised for their emphasis on processes and
their inability to compare providers that meet the standards.
The Department of Health has made no commitment about when it
will complete the review.