Driving up standards needs to be the key focus for care homes

Care homes need to drive up standards with improved training, support and investment from the local authorities, says care home specialist Caresolve.

Ben Challinor, co-founder of Caresolve, spoke out after a new report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed that a third of residential nursing homes are failing to provide safe levels of care.

The damning watchdog report said that poor leadership and staff shortages is leaving residents in a quarter of care homes with poor care. Around 37 per cent of homes failed on safety with inspectors noting they had issues with recruiting and retaining nurses.

Other examples of poor care included residents being given out-of-date medicine, care staff being asked to cook food at the expense of caring for residents and care home managers being unable to put a name to their residents.

Ben said: “The latest CQC report goes to show what we are facing as a care industry and the reference to lack of money not being an excuse for quality care is alarming.

“If you spoke to care home operators trying to make a living in a 20-bed care home with fees at just £350 a week, they may not agree. Many care homes are literally facing a fight for survival.

“The sector is under immense pressures with factors like the National Living Wage keeping both large and small care home operators awake at night.

“The Government’s £2 billion investment is a welcome start. However, the focus for the care homes needs to be improved training, support and continued investment from the local authorities.

“The focus of safety is also the tip of the iceberg. We know there are care homes that need to take immediate steps to remedy safety issues and improve monitoring of all accidents, incidents and near misses.

“Steps to improve staff recruitment and training is crucial. We understand the difficulties of recruiting within the care sector and of finding and keeping high quality staff, whether that’s registered managers, senior carers or ancillary staff. It is a common problem around the country because demand for good quality staff far outweighs supply at present in the care home sector.

“At Caresolve, our key focus is to work with care homes across the country to help to drive up standards and ensure that the business is sustainable for the operator during this extremely difficult period.”

Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC said this morning: “It appears to be increasingly difficult for some providers to deliver the safe, high quality and compassionate care people deserve and have every right to expect.

“With demand for social care expected to rise over the next two decades, this is more worrying than ever.”

Despite the announcement in the Chancellor’s Spring Budget statement of £2 billion of additional funding for social care over the next three years, she said councils still face an annual funding gap of £2.3 billion by 2020.

The CQC carried out more than 33,000 inspections of around 24,000 different services. Each was rated as Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate overall and under five key questions – whether they are safe, effective, caring, well-led and responsive to people’s needs.

To read the full CQC report click here