Care homes damaged by ‘culture of negativity’
Published on 25 October 2012 12:30 AM
Care homes are being held back by a culture of negativity, according to a new report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
The report My Home Life: promoting quality of life in care homes follows a three year study to explore what makes good practice in care homes. It was carried out by the My Home Life programme, which is funded by Age UK, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, City University and Dementia UK.
It found that, although care homes are destined to play an ever-increasing role in supporting older people in the future, there is a stigma surrounding them which is due partly to cases of abuse that are regularly featured in the media.
This ‘culture of negativity' can, the report suggests, devalue the complex work that care home staff do; leading some of them to feel embarrassed about telling their friends where they work.
Furthermore, too many care homes were found to lack engagement with their local community and lacked support from health services and local authorities.
Tom Owen, Co-Director of My Home Life, said: ‘There is a culture within the UK of care homes being something to dread and avoid at all costs which we need to work hard to change. Care homes can provide compassionate care and companionship for many older people who are at a vulnerable stage in their lives.'
John Kennedy, Director of Care Services at the Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, added: ‘We also need to recognise the challenges care homes and their managers face.
'As a society, we must be more engaged in the essential work they do and relate to them in a more appreciative way; whether that be how we regulate them; how we resource them; and indeed how we talk about them. We all may need their services one day so we should start improving the relationships now for all our sakes.'
As well as exposing the damaging effect negativity can have on care homes, the report also suggests that care homes could improve their service.
Suggestions include streamlining paper work to reduce the amount of time that care home managers spend on ‘bureaucracy' and thus freeing up more time to make sure that all care is ‘relationship-centred' and residents are given more voice, choice and control over how they are cared for.
Staff working in care homes should also be given ‘protected time' in which they are able to get to know residents and their families better.
The report is being released today by Joseph Rowntree Foundation at the National Children and Adults Services (NCAS) Conference.
Download the report
My Home Life: promoting quality of life in care homes