What do you like to be called?
Balcombe Care Homes, an organisation with four privately owned care homes, has been providing care for older people for over 30 years. Through this time, the business has seen a seismic change in the nature of the demands placed upon the care-home sector, both from a regulatory perspective and from residents.
Through these changes, including the requirement to deal with an ageing population in which people are living longer and consequently possessing ever more complex care needs, Balcombe Care Homes has sought to continuously improve the level of services provided. Against this backdrop, certain private care homes have recently been lambasted by the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of health and social care in England. The Commission took the view that the use of affectionate names for residents in care homes could be regarded as being demeaning and patronising. Some of the terminology used which could be held to be contentious included ‘sweetie’ or ‘love’. This has led to a conflict of opinion between the Commission and care home staff.
Care home staff have taken an opposing stance, based on their practical experience, saying that residents like the use of such informal terms, and moreover such matters of etiquette are usually dealt with when working through the care plans when residents first enter a care home. The Commission was particularly concerned for those residents with learning difficulties, who might not be in a position to express their preferences.
Service Provision Excellence
The core sentiment expressed by staff working in the care-home sector, in seeking not only to treat residents in a respectful manner, but also in attending to their general care needs, is reflected in the approach adopted by the Balcombe Care Homes organisation. Having opened their first home in 1985, the organisation has listened to and responded to the changes in the sector in that time, maintaining and building on its commitment to the provision of exceptional levels of care, and in so doing has sought to develop and expand its portfolio in a responsible and sustainable fashion.
Whilst the Care Quality Commission, through its inspections, has a remit to ensure that health and social care services provide residents with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care, Balcombe Care Homes has earned an enviable reputation in the care sector and is adamant that it will maintain this reputation.