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Eight signs of quality care

Working with older people, their families and care experts, the charity Independent Age has developed a set of quality indicators which Healthwatch Camden helped test during their visits to local care homes.

According to the eight indicators, a good quality care home should:

1. Have strong, visible management

The manager should be visible within the care home, provide good leadership to staff and have the right experience for the job.

2. Have staff with time and skills to do their jobs

Staff should be well-trained, motivated and feel they have the resources to do their job.

3. Have good knowledge of each resident and how their needs may be changing

Staff should be familiar with residents’ histories and preferences and have processes in place for how to monitor any changes in health and wellbeing.

4. Offer a varied programme of activities

Care homes should provide a wide range of activities (and ensure residents can access these) both in the home and outside the home.

5. Offer quality, choice and flexibility around food and mealtimes

Homes should offer a good range of choices and adequate support to help residents who may struggle to eat and drink. The social nature of eating should be reflected in how homes organise their dining rooms, and accommodate different preferences.

6. Ensure residents can see health professionals such as GPs and dentists regularly

Residents should be able to see a health professional promptly, just as they would when living in their own home.

7. Accommodate residents' personal, cultural and lifestyle needs

Care homes should be set up to meet residents’ cultural, religious and lifestyle needs, as well as their care needs, and shouldn’t make people feel uncomfortable if they are different or do things differently from other residents.

8. Be an open environment where feedback is actively sought and used

There should be mechanisms in place for residents and relatives to influence what happens in the home, such as a Residents and Relatives Committee. The process for making comments or complaints should be clear and feedback should be welcomed and acted on.

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