By Hayley Collinson, a specialist in handling cases of care home abuse and neglect at Hudgell Solicitors.
Choosing the right care home for a loved one is a huge responsibility and an extremely difficult decision for any family.
Relatives must feel confident they are placing a loved one in a home where they will be cared for with compassion and respect, and with that in mind, we welcome the recent introduction of a new online facility identifying the care homes which are performing well, and those clearly letting residents down.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC), which inspects care homes across the UK, has launched a new interactive map to help people easily access inspection reports and find out how local care homes have been rated, whether they’re deemed ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requiring improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.
It has been launched at a time when the regulator has completed inspections and issued ratings for nearly 10,000 care and nursing homes across the country, out of a possible 17,000.
The map makes it simple to assess, at a glance, where the best and worst rated care homes are, a resource which will surely prove very beneficial to concerned relatives when considering a loved ones’ future.
It crucially also brings greater transparency for relatives and friends already in care, allowing them an insight into how it is performing at all times – not just when they visit – and could well influence them in terms of deciding whether to move their loved ones to a better performing home.
Specialists in care home abuse cases
As medical negligence specialists who handle care home abuse and neglect cases, we at Hudgell Solicitors know only too well that care is not equal at every home in the UK.
We know there are many excellent care homes and care staff working tirelessly across the country to provide great care.
Sadly, we also see many cases of elder abuse or neglect, whether it be through physical abuse, or avoidable pressure sores being allowed to develop, to malnourishment, or dehydration. All are completely unacceptable situations.
It is for this reason that we are backing a petition calling for CCTV cameras to be installed in care homes across the UK, through our Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly (LOVE) campaign.
Each case of abuse or neglect is understandably devastating for the family member who has experienced it, but also for the relatives who made the very difficult decision to put them into that home in the first place.
Whilst the inspections carried out by the CQC do have some flaws, this greater transparency certainly makes it easier for families to conduct their own research, and therefore achieve greater peace of mind that their loved ones will be well cared for.
Choosing the right care home
Other measures relatives can take to ensure they’re choosing the right care home for their family member include conducting visits at the home at different times of the day, to asking questions of the manager about staff training, the daily routine for residents, and activities for residents inside and outside of the home.
Relatives are also advised to ask to meet staff and residents and explore the place and the surroundings to assess the atmosphere and whether you think your relative would be happy there.
Sadly, relatives do need to be vigilant to signs of care home abuse, and any families unhappy with the standard of care being provided should report their concerns immediately.
They can also call our dedicated team at Hudgell Solicitors for help and support, and free legal advice.
Care providers are legally required to display their performance ratings issued by the CQC at their premises in a prominent place and on their website.
To view the new interactive map, visit www.cqc.org.uk/carehomeratingsmap