[A version of this item appears in: Dementia: the Latest Evidence Newsletter (RWHT), Volume 2 Issue 8, March 2012].
The draft report from the Commission on Improving Dignity in Care proposes the following ten key recommendations for care homes:
- The Government is advised to establish a Care Quality Forum (similar to the Nursing Quality Forum) to examine care home staffing, status and pay, qualifications, recruitment, retention, development, monitoring and regulation. The profession is advised to establish a College of Care to lead on these issues.
- The care sector should develop a clear rating scheme for care homes based on nationally agreed standards and benchmarks.
- Care homes should provide an environment which offers residents happy, varied, stimulating, fulfilling and dignified lives. Older people should be allowed to participate in shaping their daily lives.
- Care homes should develop a culture of openness by building links with the wider community. Volunteers can enhance the quality of life in care homes.
- Care homes should invest in technology to improve the quality of care. Residents should be supported to enjoy active and independent lives.
- Care home staff should put the interests of residents first. Staff should be encouraged to challenge practices not in the best interests of residents.
- Care home providers should invest in support and regular training for their managers. Local authorities, as commissioners of care, should encourage this.
- Boards and managers should ensure buildings are fit for use by older people, and are dementia-friendly.
- Access to medical care is important responsibility. Residents in private care homes have the same rights to NHS care as older people living elsewhere.
- End-of-life care should be tailored to the wishes and needs of each individual. Residents should be allowed to die in the environments of their choice.
Wider Aims and Eventual Goals
The draft report also presents multiple recommendations for changes which the Commission believes are needed across the health and social care system. The Commission’s final report is expected to explain in detail how health and social care can be transformed to:
- Make dignity an equal priority alongside safe and effective care.
- Spread best practice across hospitals and care homes.
- Help older people and their families understand their rights.
- Help frontline staff to recognise and be responsible for high standards.
Delivering dignity: securing dignity in care for older people in hospitals and care homes. A report for consultation. London: NHS Confederation, the Local Government Association and Age UK, February 2012.