My Home Life gives an insight into how to improve the quality of life in care homes.
The report is a concept by Age UK, City University, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Dementia UK, discussing the ways forward to understand and improve the quality of life in care homes.
It suggests the ways to move forwards with the changing concept of social care needs, and to fit with the idea that older people have a voice, choice and control over their own lives.
The report, My Home Life, was unveiled yesterday at the National Children and Adults Services (NCAS) Conference to promote the message that many care homes fail to engage with their community and lack support from health services and local councils.
Tom Owen, co-director of the project, stressed the importance of care homes:
There is a culture within the UK of care homes being something to dread and avoid at all costs which we need to work hard to change. Care homes can provide compassionate care and companionship for many older people who are at a vulnerable stage in their lives.
While we know there is lots of good practice out there, too many care homes experience mistrust from the community and statutory services which only serves to increase their feeling of isolation and reduce their capacity to deliver a positive experience for older people.
We all may need their services one day.
The main ideas put forward in the report are:
Positive relationships in care homes enable staff to listen to older people, gain insights into individual needs and facilitate greater voice, choice and control. Relationship-centred care is at the heart of many examples of best practice.
Care home managers play a pivotal role in promoting relationships between older people, staff and relatives. With ongoing professional development and backing from colleagues across health and social care, managers can create a culture of greater spontaneity and responsiveness where positive, informed risks can be taken within a structure of safety and accountability.
Care home providers and statutory agencies should consider how their attitudes, practices and policies can create pressure and unnecessary paperwork which ultimately reduce the capacity of care homes to respond to the needs of older people.
Achieving quality in care homes requires a partnership approach. Statutory bodies should work with care homes to agree a vision and identify supportive ways of working based upon mutual trust. Involvement from the local community, including advocacy projects and volunteering, can enhance voice, choice and control for older people.
Negative stereotypes of care homes have an impact on the confidence of staff and managers. My Home Life partner organisations should consider how they can encourage more fair and balanced press coverage.
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