Care homes ‘must give more information to potential customers’

Care homes must do more to give their customers information about their rights and costs, a report for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has demanded.

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Care homes must do more to give their customers information about their rights and costs, a report for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has demanded.

While the evaluation found the sector had become more transparent, it revealed that only 60% of care homes provided residents with information on complaints procedures.

The study by GHK Consulting also found that 94% of care homes said they provided residents with a contract or statement of terms and conditions, up from 82% six years previously.

The study called for increased access to inspection reports, contracts and other sources of information when deciding upon a care home.

OFT chief economist Amelia Fletcher said: “Our evidence points to general improvements, following our study, in the provision of information to residents or family members making a decision to choose a particular care home.

“With increasing rates of disability and dependence amongst care home residents, it is more important than ever that information is both clear and provided upfront.”

The evaluation, undertaken using surveys of councils and care homes, and a mystery shopping exercise, examined the sector’s response to a 2005 OFT report into the performance of the care home industry.

It said care homes had sometimes not stuck to the spirit of the OFT’s original recommendations, for instance by providing customers with information too late in the decision-making process.

GHK also warned that the “multiplicity of different agents in [the] sector”, involving four health departments, four regulators and 214 councils across the UK had hampered care homes’ ability to make improvements.

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