Summary of report content
Healthwatch Salford carried out an Enter and View visit to Astley Court, a communal housing scheme that enable older people over 55, and others who require extra support, to continue to live independently with flexible support and the security of 24/7 emergency response and care from on-site staff.
- The activities were the responsibility of the care provider at Astley Court, with staff sometimes struggling to provide care and activities when care needed to be prioritised
- Tenants were quite critical about activities and the lack of choice, many spoke of active lifestyles and social lives before coming to the scheme. Some were not able to join in due to health or disability and others stated that advertised social activities were not run.
- Tenants also spoke of the high instance of people in their late years who were less active living at the scheme, whereas they had always been active. Some tenants didn’t think more able and active tenants were supported enough at the scheme to remain so.
- Lack of activities and social contact also had an impact on tenant’s sense of wellbeing, with mixed responses to the questions of being happy and if an extra care scheme was of benefit to them and their health. There was an awareness of a link between physical activity and health and the lack of this impacting negatively on both health and wellbeing.
- Several comments indicated isolation and loneliness, which also impacts on wellbeing. When discussing care needs tenants spoke quite positively of personal care needs being met but some spoke of how their health and need for stimulation were not being met and of standards slipping.
- Most of the tenants spoken to didn’t believe that care staff knew them well or knew what they liked and didn’t like. A few tenants mentioned that they thought that some understood how they felt but not all carers demonstrated this.
- In contrast to the more critical responses about lack of activities, stimulation and support in some areas, reassuringly tenants replied quite positively to the question of if all staff treated them with dignity and respect. From the perspective of care staff, it was evident that they too were feeling the effects of being rushed and busy, with some reporting high levels of stress and concern that they had to drop activities to prioritise care and not having enough time to properly interact and socialise with tenants.
Recommendations – care provider
- The care provider should work closely with City West’s new Community Wellbeing Officer to come up with solutions and new activities and that there be a focus on inclusive physical activity and mental stimulation to suit different abilities or smaller group activities were more support can be given.
- The Care Coordinator and housing staff should review their communication methods against the needs of tenants and best practice, such as the Accessible Information Standard 2015, to ensure they are making every effort to communicate with tenants and enable tenants to communicate too. Reviewing staffing, with the aim to increase care hours would also help with this.
- The care provider should request a review from social services about the number of hours contracted to support tenants, to increase the hours of care and staffing to raise standards and ensure that care is always effective, caring and responsive.
- The care provider should ensure that the Care Coordinator has opportunities to meet with tenants and relatives such as feedback surgeries and regular meet and greet sessions.
Recommendations – housing provider
- City West’s new Community Wellbeing Officer should work closely with care staff and extend a questionnaire to staff also to understand their challenges and ideas around activities, not just tenants. They should also get in touch with Salford CVS around volunteer involvement. Salford CVS run a ‘Volunteering in Care Homes Project’, which extends to extra care.
- The housing provider should replace the door numbers with some that are a different colour that stands out and make sure that they are at an appropriate height for tenants to read or touch.
The report contains detailed responses to the recommendations by both the care and housing providers.