Healthwatch survey spotlights care home failings

11 Aug 17

The quality of care in care homes varies across the country and sometimes basic standards are being missed, a Healthwatch England report has found.

Healthwatch England, which champions the needs of health and social care users, published its findings yesterday after visiting 97 care homes in 63 different local authority areas.

The study found a number of homes failed to provide good quality environments for residents, some lacked activities and in some places not enough effort was made to maintain residents’ dignity.

However, the report did praise the innovative work of a number of care homes that used technology to improve the care they provided. One example was the use of bar-coding in dispensing medication as a good way to improve safety.

It also highlighted those homes that gave service users access to the internet and tablet computers to help them stay connected with family and friends, but noted that limited resources was holding back innovation like this.

Imelda Redmond, national director of Healthwatch England, said: “It’s not easy running a care home, particularly as the sector as a whole is trying to get to grips with the dual challenge of managing rising demand with limited resources.

“But getting the basics right doesn’t have to cost the earth and should be the least we should all be able to expect for our loved ones and ourselves should we need care support.”

Councils’ adult social service budgets are set to be increased next year compared to other spending areas, but the Local Government Association still warns of a £2bn funding gap by 2020.

Responding to the Healthwatch England report, Margaret Willcox, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: “While it is not all about funding, the very difficult financial state of social care clearly impacts on the quality of services, and this report is a reminder of the need for government to address this for the short and longer term without delay.”

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