How to improve residential care

Care homes are being asked to invite the public into their premises to discuss what makes residential care and how services can be improved, in a month-long campaign.

Improving the quality of care homes is the subject of a month-long “conversation” launched last week by the My Home Life movement, which highlights best practice in residential care.

It is attempting to engage the public in a debate about what makes good residential care, what would make care homes better and how improvements can be made, with the key messages collated and relayed to the UK government.

The Big Care Home Conversation also aims to help break down barriers between care homes and their local communities, with care homes asked to invite local people in to discuss the quality of residential care.

“Care homes have often been described as ‘islands of the old,” said My Home Life director Tom Owen. “This is a unique opportunity to help the public to understand better the vital role that they play, the challenges they face and the kind of support that will help them deliver quality to our frailest citizens.”
My Home Life has produced a booklet for care homes who want to take part in the conversation, including tips on engaging staff, residents, relatives and the public, as well as other resources to promote local events, such as a template press release.

Care homes will gather together comments from their discussions and feed these in to My Home Life, while people can also contribute their thoughts on the My Home Life website.

My Home Life, which is funded by Age UK, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Dementia UK and City University, has been running for six years, and seeks to highlight and promote good practice in residential care, based on eight themes:- maintaining identity, creating community, sharing decision-making, managing transitions, improving health, supporting a good end of life, keeping the workforce fit for purpose and promoting a positive culture.