The government began consultation on proposals to revise the Children's Homes Regulations 2001, comprising new quality standards, administrative, and management regulations, as well as a guide to the regulations that would replace the existing national minimum standards for children's homes. The revised draft regulations and guide were published alongside the consultation document and the consultation would close on 14 November 2014.
Source: Children's Homes Regulations: High expectations and aspirations, Department for Education
A think-tank report provided the findings from the Commission on Residential Care, which drew on academics, practitioners, and other experts to consider the future of residential care (including care homes, extra care villages, and supported living) for older people and people with disabilities in England. It said that there was much innovative and excellent practice in the sector, but negative public perceptions were widespread, with care settings often seen as a last resort option. The report made extensive recommendations, including: for a broader definition of 'housing with care' to be adopted within government policy; for changes in the approach to funding; for the redefinition of residential status in care homes (to provide people with tenancies); for consideration of co-operative, mutual, or profit sharing ownership models; for co-location of care settings with other community services; for an expanded role for the Care Quality Commission; and for workforce-related changes, including payment of a living wage and the introduction of a licence to practice for care staff.
Source: The Commission on Residential Care, Demos
A report examined the way in which local authorities implemented third party top-up fee arrangements, and their concerns in light of the implementation of the Care Act. It said that around 56,000 people in England had their care home fees paid in part by the council and in part through a top-up fee paid by a third party, and said there was a wide variety of practice across different local authority areas, with some gaps and uncertainties around monitoring and in ensuring the sustainability of arrangements. The report said that there was great uncertainty about the implications of the Care Act for top-up fee arrangements, and that local authorities had voiced concern about how the top-up rules would work alongside deferred payments and capped care costs. The report made a range of recommendations.
Source: Sue Arthur, Care Home Top-Up Fees: Research with local authorities, Independent Age
A study examined the locations from which people were reported missing to the police repeatedly in a one year period. The report said that private care homes (57.1 per cent) were the most common place and almost all (99.5 per cent) of those who went missing from private care homes were young people aged 18 years and under. The report made a range of recommendations, including: that Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission should routinely request a police summary of missing person reports as part of their inspections, and investigate (and maybe sanction) where there have been a high number of reports; that the police should carry out a case review on locations from which there were frequent missing persons; that the Department of Health and the police should urgently clarify relative responsibilities for missing patients, and consider how to enhance multi-agency relationships to improve safeguarding practices for vulnerable people; and for better routine information exchange between local authorities and police for children in care, with any changes monitored.
Source: Karen Shalev Greene and Carol Hayden, Repeat Reports to the Police of Missing People: Locations and characteristics, Centre for the Study of Missing Persons (University of Portsmouth)
A report provided findings from a survey of members of the Independent Children's Homes Association on the state of the sector.
Source: Home Truths: The state of independent residential child care 2014, Independent Children's Homes Association
An article examined views on the development and role of technology within care homes. It said that technology was more likely to be 'fit for purpose' when developed in partnership with staff, residents, and visitors, and that costs and benefits should be taken into account.
Source: Deidre Wild, Ala Szczepura, Clive Bowman, Angela Kydd, and Richard Wallis, 'Differing perspectives on a role for technology in care homes to improve the lives of older people and the work environment of staff', Housing Care and Support, Volume 17 Number 2
The government responded to a report by a committee of MPs on residential children's homes.
Source: Residential Children's Homes: Government response to the Committee's Sixth Report of Session 2013-14, First Special Report (Session 201415), HC 305, House of Commons Education Select Committee, TSO
An article examined commissioning and contracting arrangements for domiciliary care and care home provision for older people in England, and their influence on the recruitment and retention of staff in these services.
Source: Helen Chester, Jane Hughes, and David Challis, 'Commissioning social care for older people: influencing the quality of direct care', Ageing and Society, Volume 34 Issue 6
The Care Act 2014 was given Royal assent. The Act provided for a range of measures regarding health and social care, including: a cap on the cost of social care in England; the legal right of carers to support from their local council; provision for local authorities to assess the care and support needs of children, and young carers, who might need support after they reach the age of 18, to facilitate the transition to adult social care; entitlements to personal care budgets and provisions for deferred payments for care; a rating system for hospitals and care homes, and new powers of intervention to the chief inspector of hospitals; and the creation of two new public bodies, Health Education England and the Health Research Authority, designed to provide additional training and support for health professionals.
Source: Care Act 2014, Department of Health, TSO
A report examined the delivery of care in residential services for children and young people, residential services and supported housing for people with learning disabilities, and hospice care, and considered how learning from those settings might be applied in care homes for older people.
Source: Liz Burtney, Davina Figgett, Deirdre Fullerton, Paul Buchanan, Karen Stevens, and Madeline Cooper-Ueki, Learning for Care Homes from Alternative Residential Care Settings, Joseph Rowntree Foundation
A report examined, at a strategic level, the purpose and structure of residential care services in Scotland, with a view to meeting the aspirations and needs of future generations. It said that expansion would be required in extra care, rehabilitation/prevention, and high dependency care. Future services would need to take account of the needs and wishes of service users and the report recommended further work on the development of appropriate tenancy models. It also recommended clarification of the definition of housing support, and made observations and recommendations regarding capacity planning, funding, commissioning, and quality assurance.
Source: Task Force for the Future of Residential Care in Scotland, Recommendations for the Future of Residential Care for Older People in Scotland: Summary, Scottish Government
An article examined the health status and healthcare resource use of care home residents. It said that residents from both residential and nursing settings were dependent, cognitively impaired, had mild frequent behavioural symptoms, multimorbidity, polypharmacy, and they frequently used National Health Service resources. Effective care for such a cohort required broad expertise from multiple disciplines delivered in a co-ordinated and managed way.
Source: Adam Lee Gordon, Matthew Franklin, Lucy Bradshaw, Pip Logan, Rachel Elliott, and John Gladman, 'Health status of UK care home residents: a cohort study', Age and Ageing, Volume 43 Issue 1
An article reported a review that sought to identify longitudinal or nationally representative cross-sectional sources of information on the health and well-being of older adults residing in care homes in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Most studies did not include or follow up older adults in care homes. It said systematic data collection on the health of older adults in care homes should be a priority, to inform policy development and enable monitoring of care delivery and health outcomes.
Source: Danielle Collingridge Moore and Barbara Hanratty, 'Out of sight, out of mind? A review of data available on the health of care home residents in longitudinal and nationally representative cross-sectional studies in the UK and Ireland', Age and Ageing, Volume 42 Issue 6