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Changes to Residential Care System Claimed
Changes to residential care system
could improve older people’s quality
of life; © SXC
Researchers are calling for changes to the UK residential home care system to ensure older people have a ‘home for life’ and are not pushed out to hospitals or nursing homes unnecessarily.
Deirdre Wild from the University of the West of England and Ala Szczepura from Warwick Medical School led the study, which has evaluated the introduction of enhanced care for older people in three types of residential home.
The team compared a voluntary sector home, a privately-owned home and a local authority-owned home which all introduced ‘enhanced residential care’, based on developing new type of worker roles. Extensive fieldwork was carried out over three years and a total of 108 interviews were carried out with residents and relatives, care staff, home managers, senior managers and key stakeholders.
Survey questionnaires were also sent out to all staff; focus groups were conducted with care staff, residents, relatives and home managers; and activity data was collected across the three residential homes and a comparator nursing home.
In England, more than 18,000 care homes currently provide places for more than 453,000 residents. Six out of ten places are in residential homes with no nursing staff employed on-site. Three quarters of residential homes are privately owned. Residential homes employ some 230,000 care workers and senior care workers and this figure is set to rise with an ageing population.
According to the study, the findings support the view that good basic health/nursing care can be delivered in a residential home, provided there is a sound practice-driven relationship with community nurses, and that care staff know when to seek nurse-led support. “Those responsible for development of the new role carer workforce should recognise that without incentives and recognition for the delivery of improved health and social care, these roles will become difficult to sustain beyond a ‘honeymoon’ period.” said Wild.
“We need to get the horse in front of the cart and professionalise the new carer workforce”, she adds. This requires putting in place carer registration, appropriate formal qualifications, career pathways, and a robust accountability and liability framework to protect both new role carers and older people.
Fellow researcher Szczepura said, “In future, cost-effective care of older people is likely to be reliant on extending the spectrum of care provided by residential homes. Our study found that nearly half of current residents can be classed as needing the intervention of a registered nurse on at least a daily basis.”
REHACARE.de; Source: University of the West of England
- More about the University of the West of England at www.uwe.ac.uk
( Source: REHACARE.de )