NICE has published a new briefing to summarise key recommendations for local authorities and partner organisations on the health and care of older people in care homes.
Local authorities have a range of responsibilities towards care home residents, both as commissioners of services (with a ‘duty of care’ towards those residents) and as a result of general statutory safeguarding and wellbeing duties under the Care Act 2014, which comes into force on 1 April 2015. This applies whether or not they run the homes themselves and regardless of whether a service user pays their own fees or not.
The recommendations and quality statements signposted in the briefing include:
• ensure older people in care homes retain their independence and identity
• set clear policies and plans for older people in care homes
• provide equal access to services
• ensure residents are safe
• prevent infections among residents.
Professor Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive at NICE, said: ‘Older people often move to a care home as a result of a crisis, with no preparation and little or no planning. This briefing underlines the importance of focusing care on the needs of the resident. It aims to help local authorities make well-informed, evidence-based decisions on issues affecting the care provided for older people.’
Professor Leng also said that: ‘Older people’s physical needs are equally important to their mental wellbeing. The briefing also highlights recommendations on preventing falls, supporting people with dementia, procedures for reporting safeguarding and handling medicines errors, and quality statements on screening for malnutrition. Following the steps set out in the briefing will help local authorities and their partner organisations to deliver good standards of care for older people in care homes. The briefing may also help families and people moving into homes to ask questions about the care being provided.’