It’s wrong to assume poor standards in all care homes for the elderly

Blog posted

19th April 2011

Today’s Which? report carries an extremely scathing headline ‘Care home failings exposed’ which as a care provider in this sector is devastating to read.

The report justifiably exposes poor and unacceptable standards and service levels. No-one can defend these findings which came to light when undercover actors posed as residents in four residential care homes. full story

Inadequate nutrition, under stimulation, risk to health and safety were at the top of the list of issues uncovered by the exercise.

The profession’s regulatory body, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), was quick to point out that the report represented a tiny sample and there was no evidence to suggest this was endemic across the rest of the UK.

For companies such as ourselves, it is a constant battle to prove such headlines wrong when it comes to our own facilities.

We have a portfolio of nearly 1,500 properties and extra care units; in excess of 200 CQC registered beds for residential, nursing and dementia care; and two further homes under construction.
We employ more than 700 staff to help deliver these lifestyle choices – independent living with support, assisted living, extra care, full nursing provision, rehabilitation, respite convalescence, community services – supported further by five domiciliary care branches through our own registered company RV Care.

It is not just our duty, it is our want to provide a first class service for every resident, making their dignity and personal independence our paramount concern.

Today’s headlines are so disappointing for members of our profession who are driven by dedication and commitment to care for the elderly, who see it as a vocation rather than another ‘9 to 5’ job. It is these people who work way beyond their job description to deliver these services and while the bad practice of a few needs to be highlighted by Which? it mustn’t cloud the work of so many good staff.

It is understandable that choosing a care home for yourself, a family member or a close friend, is a major decision and the Which? report doesn’t ease confidence in the profession. Our advice as always is to research facilities, make personal visits, come and talk to staff and residents, speak to the local GP and other health professionals in the community, and read the CQC inspection reports which grade each home. Research is essential, Which? has produced its own checklist which might also be a good starting point for you: care homes checklist

Paul Walsh
Managing Director, Care and Operations