SCIE media statement

Care home closures - Practical tools and guidance to manage short notice closures

8 September 2011

There’s new support for professionals who need to handle the consequences of the closure of a care home. A new online guide will be invaluable to Commissioners and service providers, who may be called upon to manage short notice closures. It pulls together the current learning and available current tools on the issue.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has written the guide. It’s been created in conjunction with the Association of Directors of Adult Services (ADASS).

Continuity of care and support

The guide provides good practice on how to cope with the closure process and how to reduce any negative impact on residents. SCIE and ADASS say that people who live in care homes need continuity in their care and support, regardless of who provides it and where it’s provided. They say that residents’ voices need to be heard and that they actively need to be involved in decisions that affect them. Rumour and speculation can cause a good deal of fear and distress for residents, their relatives and supporters. 

Under each topic there are sections setting out the implications for practice, ideas from the practice of others for you to consider, and a summary of what policy and research is saying.  There are a selection of procedures, checklists and templates from around the country.

There are various sections:

SCIE’s Director of Adult Services, David Walden, says:

When people are confronted with news that a care home is to close, it is a difficult time for all concerned. This online guide supports commissioners and providers to prepare for these difficult times. There are many good practice tips in the guide; from how to direct staff to be sensitive to residents, through putting in quality control and monitoring systems.

ADASS President, Peter Hay, says:

While we hope that the current period of market uncertainty settles, local circumstances may mean that closures could happen at any time, given illness, emergencies and potential enforcement action from the regulator when quality slips below essential standards. Commissioners and providers need to be equipped to deal with it if and when it happens. So this online tool offers practical tools and guidance to manage closures at short notice.

The online tool is aimed primarily at local authority and other statutory commissioners but others, including residents and relatives concerned about a possible closure, or providers and their staff, should also find it useful.

Section example – continuity of care

Commissioners and providers should ensure that the health and the wellbeing of residents in care homes are maintained regardless of threatened or actual closure of their care home and, ideally, wherever possible, by staff who know them. Locally agreed procedures and policies should be followed, relating to safeguarding vulnerable adults.

If a home closure is unavoidable, the care home managers and local authority and health commissioners must try to buy time for a planned closure in order to reduce the risk to residents. Local authorities are required to safeguard the needs and welfare of all residents in care homes in their area, regardless of whether they are self or publicly funded and regardless of which local authority has placed them there.


Short-notice care home closures: a guide for local authority commissioners

Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: