A recent report has suggested that older people are the victims of a ‘postcode’’ lottery when it comes to the quality of care homes in their region – with a stark variation in the quality of care being provided across England.
But whilst it is certainly true that some areas boast a much greater percentage of homes judged to be performing well by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) on inspection than others, to say it is a ‘lottery’ when choosing a home for a loved one is somewhat untrue.
Detailed analysis of all CQC inspections have revealed the North West contains seven of the eight worst performing English local authorities on care home quality, with 33.6% of care homes performing poorly.
In Yorkshire and The Humber, 32.2% of care homes were given poor ratings, and in the South East it was 28.2%.
The best performing regions were found to be London with 20.3% of care homes being rated highly by the CQC, the East of England with 20.8% and the South West with 21%.
Stockport, Salford, Tameside, Manchester, Kensington and Chelsea have over more than half of their care homes rated as Inadequate or requiring improvement, while in the Isles of Scilly, Islington, Rutland, Richmond upon Thames and Thurrock, less than five per cent of their homes have such concerns placed against their names.
However, to summarise the impact of these assessments, by highlighting it as a ‘postcode lottery’, almost misses the very point of these CQC inspections and the benefits they bring.
Easily accessible via a map of inspection reports, people can now research care home performance thoroughly, with details provided on the management, safety and effectiveness of care homes, and whether they are caring, safe and responsive to their residents’ needs.
Any issues over performance – from training and staff numbers to medication and how staff treat residents – are highlighted in full, with any requirements for improvements placed on homes also made clear.
This information – which many relatives facing the prospect of choosing a care home are unaware of – is aimed at helping families avoid the worst performing and find a home they feel confident in given the conclusions of inspectors – funds and locality permitting.
Under its current inspection ratings, the CQC is currently listing 169 outstanding care facilities, 10,594 good care facilities, 2,877 requiring improvement, and 441 which have the lowest rating of inadequate – many of which will be facing possible action to close their services if they fail to improve.
Such information is crucial for people considering care for their loved ones, as these reports delve way beyond the websites of the care homes themselves, many of which boast of providing great care, and specialisms, despite CQC reports having identified them as failing.
The message is clear – almost every area in England has care providers who are doing a great job in looking after the elderly and vulnerable, and almost every area has those letting people down – some more so than others.
Families must therefore do their research and select a home which they feel most confident in having considered independent assessments of their performance, management and care.
To view the report ‘Care home performance across England’ https://www.independentage.org/sites/default/files/2017-04/Regional_care_home_performance_briefing.pdf