Care homes in Wales to receive quality review

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A new commissioners' initiative to canvass older care home residents about the quality of their care has been welcomed by the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales.

Care Home Fees - Quality of Care

The study will be underpinned with legal powers and will consist of talking to older people, their families and carers with a view to improving service consistency.

The initiative will also canvass local authorities, local health boards, care home providers, regulators and inspectors, according to the older people's commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira.

"Since I took up post, I have spoken extensively about the need to ensure that older people living in care homes in Wales are safe, well cared for and have a good quality of life," Ms Rochira said.

The commissioner has encountered "much good practice across Wales" during her care home visits. "But I have spoken many times about my concerns that this is not consistent and that we are not getting it right for everyone.

"We must remember that a person's home is so much more than bricks and mortar, it is where you should feel and be safe, well cared for and happy."

The evidence gathered by Ms Rochira's team will be used both to identify the best care in the region and to ensure by recommendation that rights for the elderly are upheld and that older people can enjoy the best possible quality of life.

"It's not enough just to be safe and well cared for," Ms Rochira said. "This is the place that people call home and they have a right to a really good quality of life.

"I don't think we yet understand what that means - that's why I'm going to give voice back to older people through my review."

Ms Rochira observed that on talking to older people they use such expressions as friendship, hope, love, staying in touch with people, feeling valued and feeling respected. "They're words of real description and warmth, and of course they would [use them] in the places they call home.

"But actually the response of our system tends to be national minimum standards and the 2 just don't fit together."

Ms Rochira added that she wanted to "give older people back their voice and put their voices back at the heart of the place that they call home."

Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) has applauded the study, which will begin in September.

"Making sure that homes are safe and that people's experiences are good is at the core of our inspection work, and I look forward to working with the older people's commissioner," CSSIW chief inspector Imelda Richardson said.

"In the last 2 years we have transformed the way we inspect services."

Ms Richardson added that besides checking that the law is complied with, CSSIW also reports on the quality of people's care experiences.

"Our inspectors spend more time listening and speaking to people about their experiences of the service and support they are receiving," Ms Richardson concluded. "This allows us to get a more accurate picture of a service."

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