William Eichler 06 March 2019

Care home quality ‘worsens’ in a third of council areas

The quality of care homes has worsened in more than a third of local authority areas over the last year, according to an elderly persons charity.

Research by Independent Age has revealed that over 2.6 million over-65s are living in areas where an increasing number of care homes are rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The charity also found that more than a third of local authorities saw a drop in performance between January 2018 and January 2019. This is an increase on the 22% of council areas where care home quality worsened between 2017 and 2018.

There were 16 local authority areas where between 30% and 40% of care homes were rated ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’ by the CQC.

Care homes in Manchester are the worst in the country with 44% rated as ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’.

George McNamara, director of policy and influencing at Independent Age, described these findings as ‘truly alarming’.

‘Years of dithering by the Government, and the failure to reform the social care system, is a main cause of increased pressures on the care home market and more areas with poor performers,’ he said.

‘Unless the forthcoming Green Paper is bold and ambitious, it will do little to address the crisis in care.

‘Essentially, the government continues to stand by and do nothing to address the quality of care suffered by older people, many of whom live with conditions such as dementia, and who are being robbed of their ability to enjoy life as much as possible.

‘As well as being dangerous, poor care is miserable, involving things like being woken up in the night to be dressed or taken to the toilet because of staff shortages. Care homes are where many of us will live out our final months. No life should end in misery.’

Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said: 'Councils and their social care staff are doing all they can to provide the best possible service and we should not forget that the majority of care homes are rated "good" or "excellent", despite overstretched resources and tightening budgets.

'Our population is changing, and demand is growing. However, with no long-term funding plan in place, the sombre truth is that people will face reduced choice and delays when it comes to deciding what care will work best for them. Therefore the Government needs to publish its green paper, which must contain a long-term funding solution in order to cope with our growing national care crisis, as a matter of urgency.'

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