Health in the care home
People living in all care homes are entitled to the same standard of health and social care as they were in their own homes. This involves collaboration between the home and local NHS and social care agencies, as well as third sector and community services.
Checklist for owners and managers
The assessed health needs of residents in care homes with nursing will be met in part by the nurses and health care assistants on the staff. But all people in care homes need access to a range of health care services:
- Firstly, and most importantly, people need primary care. Residents in registered care homes are entitled to the same range and level of care and treatment from a local GP as people who are in their own homes. This range includes all screening services, and regular medication reviews.
- Managers should ensure that staff have a system for arranging and monitoring regular check-ups (for example, for eyes and teeth; smear tests for younger women.)
- Residents will often also need health support, including:
- specialist medical services
- specialist nursing care
- occupational therapy
- speech and language therapy
In 2015 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) produced advice for local authorities on improving the health and wellbeing of older people in care homes. They emphasised the importance of:
- clear care home policies and action plans
- ensuring that people in care homes retain their independence and identity
- co-produced person-centred care in the home
- equal access to services
- NICE has also published specific guidance on dementia; on the mental wellbeing of older people in care homes; on infection prevention and control, and on managing medicines in care homes. See NICE: Tailored resource for carers and care providers on supporting people to live well with dementia
- NHS England’s Framework for enhanced health in care homes, based on the work of six ‘vanguard sites.
- Care home staff must be trained to deliver clean, safe care. At the same time people who live in care homes, their carers, families and friends should all be made aware of the risks of spreading infection, and how to avoid them.