William Eichler 27 October 2017

‘Critical lack’ of care home places leaves families feeling guilty, survey reveals

Families are facing a ‘critical lack’ of choice when it comes to arranging a care home for their loved ones as councils face care home place shortfall, a consumer watchdog finds.

A survey by Which? found 48% of people who had arranged care for themselves or a loved one in a care home said there weren’t any places in at least one of the local homes they considered.

Almost one in five people (17%) told the consumer watchdog they had settled for a care home they had reservations about, and 16% opted for a home away from friends and family.

The survey also revealed half of those who need a care place are also having to wait for a bed, and 25% of care arrangers who found a bed said they felt guilty or annoyed they couldn’t find a more suitable home.

This is indicative of a wider trend that could see almost nine in 10 council areas across England facing a shortfall in care home places by 2022.

Commenting on the report, Janet Morrison, chief executive of Independent Age, the older people’s charity, said: ‘Choosing a care home can be a complex decision for older people and their families, and is often done under time and emotional pressure.

‘It is simply not acceptable that nearly one in five people surveyed have reservations about their care home.

‘This could be the tip of the iceberg, as this research looks at people who arrange care themselves or for a loved one.

‘It poses questions about the quality of choice on offer for people making do with a care home the local authority have arranged for them.

‘The Government must urgently publish their long-promised Green Paper on social care, and get on with delivering a social care system that meets the needs of older people now and in the future.’

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