Dr Nick Tupper’s blog: What do you want from a care home?

nicktupperI’m a great believer in giving people the help and support people need to stay in their own home for as long as possible, if that is something they want to do.

A few months ago I ran a survey asking Doncaster people: ‘If you reached a point where everyday tasks were becoming difficult to do, would you still prefer to continue to live at home with support rather than going into long-term residential care?’ Over 95 per cent of respondents said ‘yes’, which was pretty overwhelming.

But there can be a point in someone’s life when they either cannot manage to live independently any more, or they simply would prefer someone else to have the responsibility of looking after them.

NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible, along with Doncaster Council and the Care Quality Commission, for ensuring that local care homes provide the safe and effective care you would expect a friend or loved one to have.

Studies show that the majority of us will, at some time during our life, have a stay in a care home or we will have a friend or relative who spends some time in residential care.

Doncaster has more people living in residential homes than most parts of the country and Doncaster people tend to go into long-term care at a younger age.

This is a situation we want to change by providing more opportunities for people to have the care and support they need to maintain independent living at home. This would mean fewer Doncaster people moving into long-term residential care, but those who do are likely to have complex needs that will require a lot of personal attention.

So it’s very important that, when people require long-term residential care, that it is of the best possible quality.

Currently, CCG staff are working closely with local care homes to understand the needs of residents and staff. As part of this ‘listening and learning’ exercise, we would also like to know what Doncaster people would expect a care home to provide if they, or a loved one, ever need residential care.

To make it easy for people to let us have their views we have launched a short on-line survey via our website – www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk – which asks three simple questions on your experiences or expectations of care homes.

Capturing local views is always very important to us and we read every comment, so please let us have your thoughts.

We have already had many comments from Doncaster people about what their expectations would be, including one person who said “allowing staff to have enough time to sit with patients and engage them in conversation.” Another asked for “plenty of group sessions and therapeutic activity”. But one that particularly caught my eye was “to be treated as a unique person”.

I couldn’t agree more.

Please tell us what you think at www.surveymonkey.com/s/donccarehome

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