JRF project identifies eight ‘pillars’ of a good care home

Joseph Rowntree Foundation project has identified eight “pillars” of best practice in care homes to ensure good quality of life for residents.

The guidance has been produced as part of the My Home Life initiative, which also includes the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust and Age Concern and Help the Aged, and is looking to promote care homes as a positive option for older people.

It was developed by 60 academic researchers, working alongside the care home sector, who examined evidence of what residents wanted and what practices worked, to develop the following eight best practice principles:-  

Eight pillars

• Make sure people enjoy a smooth transition from their former residence to their care home and easing pressures on family members.
• Maintain a sense of identity within the home through person-centred care.
• Create a sense of community within the home and developing relationships with the surrounding community.
• Ensure residents are involved in decision-making around the home.
• Ensure residents have the same access to health care that they did in their own home.
• Support residents and relatives at times of loss and bereavement.
• Have a workforce which is well trained and has access to opportunities for development.
• Promote a positive care culture where relationships are valued.

Director of My Home Life Tom Owen said, “It’s a living document that is a tool for care homes really to measure themselves against the best of the care home sector.”


Examples of good practice identified by the research included one home in which residents worked closely with local art students to create murals in communal areas of the home.

The process helped build relationships both within the home and with the local community as well as helping residents feel connected with their surroundings.

Another home abolished set meal times and encouraged staff to have meals with residents, making the home feel less institutional.

Wider programme

The JRF’s work with My Home Life is part of a bigger £1.5m programme, A Better Life, to develop costed policies to help older have a better quality of life over the next five years.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation policy and research manager, Philippa Hare said, “The ethos behind My Home Life fits perfectly with our own focus on using an evidence-base to influence change. Their positive approach of encouraging and supporting good practice rather than criticising the sector also falls in line with our own aims.”

Projects planned as part of A Better Life include looking into areas such as developing a better discourse between care commissioners and care providers over issues of funding, encouraging more person-centred care and developing leadership in the home care sector.

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