Residents and relatives should be given a direct say in the running of care homes, according to a report examining how care for the elderly could be improved.
The Delivering Dignity report, by a commission set up by Age UK, the NHS Confederation and Local Government Association, sets out a range of recommendations designed to act as “a call to arms to the whole health and social care system”.
As well as greater involvement of residents in decision making, it also urges care homes to stamp out ageist language and calls for the creation of a new rating system for care homes that would inform inspections by the Care Quality Commission.
It also calls on local authority commissioners to set standards for residents’ dignity in care home provider contracts and adopt a person-centric approach to older people’s care.
“Care homes must be more than just aimless places where the only goal is to keep residents clean, dressed and well-fed,” says the report.
“This means turning on its head a task-orientated approach to care giving. For example, the aim must not be to get the person washed and dressed as quickly as possible in order to move on to the next task, but should be to help the resident choose their clothes and prepare for the day ahead.”
Other recommendations included:-
- The creation of a Care Quality Forum to help raise the status and quality of care home staff, as a first step towards creating a College of Care.
- Care homes should ensure residents have sufficient access to medical care.
- Care home managers should be recognised as experts and providers and commissioners should ensure they receive sufficient training.
The organisations behind the report are consulting on their recommendations until 27 March. The joint commission that produced the report was formed in response to the failures in older people’s care exposed by the Health Service Ombudsman in February 2011.
Image: Rex Features
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