Bad Press for the Minority, But Good Results for the Majority
Care homes have not had the best press in the British media in recent years, but the majority are refusing to have their reputations tarnished by a poor minority.
Staff and management at care homes across Britain are working hard to constantly implement new ways of making life more comfortable and enjoyable for their residents.
This is in contrast to the relatively few bad care providers who have made the headlines. Their substandard services should be highlighted, but so should the good work being carried out within an industry committed to raising the profile and improving the reputation of care homes in the UK.
The demand for places in care homes continues to rise — up 22 per cent between 2006 and 2013. So it is viewed as being more important than ever that the industry does all it can to outweigh the bad news with the good.
Good News Aplenty
There is certainly plenty of material available for good press coverage, as improvement efforts include a boost in social activities and new safety regulations governing medical equipment used in care homes. There is also an emphasis on providing better medical advice and an increased amount of help when it comes to paying fees.
Life in the majority of care homes is a far cry from the popular misconception of lines of elderly people slumped in chairs, being ignored except for bedtimes and mealtimes. Instead, modern-day care homes strive to offer a real quality of life for their residents, whether that comes from allowing them to take part in a range of activities involving both fellow residents or the wider community, or from ensuring that every basic care need is fully covered to allow the older people to enjoy every other aspect of their life.
The industry regulator and inspector, the Care Quality Commission, is committed to promoting improvements in the country’s weaker homes, which account for around 18 per cent of Britain’s total number.
Local communities are also helping to increase the amount of positive press coverage by getting involved with events and resident services, along with attending open days to find out more about how care homes work. A National Care Open Day held in June saw homes across the country throwing open their doors and flocks of people turning out to learn more and show their support. It is events such as this that will change perceptions of care homes and allow people of advancing years — and their families — to look forward to the time when they move into a home rather than dreading or fearing the prospect.
This can be helped further by relatives, neighbours and friends feeling welcomed and simply able to drop into their local home. This will boost understanding and further enhance the lives of the residents, many of whom appreciate being made to feel a part of the community in which they live.
Moving into a care home is not an indicator of the end of ‘normal’ life. It signals the start of what should be another exciting stage. Most care home staff, managers and owners have always known this to be the case, but it is now time to make more people not involved in the industry aware of it too.