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Fixing the broken image of care homes, could a 'care home innovation centre' be the answer?

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Abstract

The UK has many excellent care homes that provide high-quality care for their residents; however, across the care home sector, there is a significant need for improvement. Even though the majority of care homes receive a rating of 'good' from regulators, still significant numbers are identified as requiring 'improvement' or are 'inadequate'. Such findings resonate with the public perceptions of long-term care as a negative choice, to be avoided wherever possible-as well as impacting on the career choices of health and social care students. Projections of current demographics highlight that, within 10 years, the part of our population that will be growing the fastest will be those people older than 80 years old with the suggestion that spending on long-term care provision needs to rise from 0.6% of our Gross Domestic Product in 2002 to 0.96% by 2031. Teaching/research-based care homes have been developed in the USA, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands and Australia in response to scandals about care, and the shortage of trained geriatric healthcare staff. There is increasing evidence that such facilities help to reduce inappropriate hospital admissions, increase staff competency and bring increased enthusiasm about working in care homes and improve the quality of care. Is this something that the UK should think of developing? This commentary details the core goals of a Care Home Innovation Centre for training and research as a radical vision to change the culture and image of care homes, and help address this huge public health issue we face.

    Research areas

  • innovation, teaching / research-based care homes, dementia, health and social care partnership, older people

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