Arts activities are at risk of being cut back as local authorities cut care home funding, the National Care Forum chief executive has warned.
Despite much evidence to suggest the important role of arts and other cultural activities in improving the mental and physical well-being of residents in care homes Des Kelly has admitted that the funding for such schemes is an "obvious worry".
"Despite the obvious link between art and well-being this kind of thing is still cut when times are tough," he told Community Care.
He said that although good care home providers ensured that access to the arts was a "natural part" of providing care and support to their residents, such provision was "extremely variable".
"Although there is some extremely good work going on I suspect that in many places care homes don't have the resources or the inclination to do this."
His comments follow the publication of a report on the importance of arts and activities in care homes, Creative Homes, produced by the NCF in partnership with the Baring Found and the National Association of Activity Providers for Older People.
Provision of arts projects and activities is "integral to the definition of excellence in social care", the report said.
Sylvie Silver, chief executive of the National Association of Activity Providers for Older People said that she thought only 20% of care homes were achieving "best practice" in this area.
"The rest do need to get better. Overall I would say provision is patchy, in many cases in the first instance people need to recognise the importance of the arts and generally they don't," she said.
The report highlights five examples of best practice from care home providers, including care home provider Central & Cecil, whose arts and education co-ordinator Vikki Moorhouse said: "We hope that this report will further promote the importance of creative projects in care homes and challenge other organisations to think of new and innovative ways of engaging with older people".
For the latest news and practice in domiciliary and residential care, go to You Care, Community Care's micro-site
What do you think?Join the debate on CareSpace
Keep up to date with the latest developments in social care. Sign up to our daily and weekly emails
Blog: Craft in care homes: well-being and excellence in practice