Care home closures should take at least six months to avoid major stress to residents and families, finds practice guidance published today.
The study comes amid significant concerns that a number of Southern Cross Healthcare’s 750 homes could close due to the company’s parlous financial state, and with the firm having announced up to 3,000 job losses today.
Closures can cause major stress to residents, families, care home staff and assessors so it is important that they are handled properly, found the report by Birmingham University, commissioned by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.
It warned against emergency unplanned closures of homes, as they made it difficult for councils to provide the right support for residents.
“We know that care home closures can have a negative impact on older residents, but that this can be minimised if good practice is followed,” said Jon Glasby, director of Birmingham University’s Health Services Management Centre and lead author of the report.
“Overall, the key message from the guide is that good practice takes time. Although this isn’t an exact science, my own view from looking at the evidence and at local practice to date is that local authorities need at least six months to be able to do this well.”
The study draws on evidence from a largescale care home closure programme in Birmingham as well as existing literature.
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