What's it like? People's experiences of residential and nursing care homesDownload (PDF 3.2MB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Suffolk undertook a survey of care home residents, relatives and friends. 600 people responded to the survey.
Visiting professionals visited a wide range of care homes in Suffolk, and more than two thirds (72%) of the homes they visited they judged to be “good” or “very good”. Residents, and family and friends, were asked to give the care home they were responding about a star rating - five stars for “very good”, and one star for “very poor”. Eighty-five per cent of those that responded gave their care home four or five stars. Ninety-six per cent of responses said that they feel that their resident, relative, or friend was safe in their care home.
Eighty-three per cent of residents and 89% of family and friends believed that their care home provided a range of activities that the residents could participate in. Unfortunately, the approval ratings dropped when asked if the activities were accessible or available outside of the home.
When it came to the relationship between staff and residents, and their family and friends, the approval ratings were very high, as 97% of residents and 91% of their family and friends agreed that there was a good relationship between staff and residents.
There were similarly high ratings for respect of privacy and dignity and positive communication. The availability of staff for residents and their family and friends was highly rated. There were also high ratings for personal care and support, mealtime support, the choice and quality of food and accessing other services. However, access to dentistry services and support of oral hygiene generally was not as good. Ninety-eight per cent of residents and 96% of their family and friends agreed that their care home was clean, tidy, and comfortable. Homes and gardens were easy to move around.
Family and friends said that they were broadly satisfied with the support given to a resident who has dementia (87%), including the provision of activities suitable to their needs. However, the families and friends of residents with dementia were less positive that they are listened to than the families and friends of residents without dementia.
Families and friends of residents with NHS Continuing Healthcare-funded places felt less involved in decision making than the group as a whole. Residents and their family and friends were confident that if they needed to complain, they would. While 86% of relatives and friends were involved in the decision to move a resident into a care home, less than half of the residents said they were involved.
Family that were looking for support for an elderly relative with dementia or with funded nursing care were more likely to factor in the CQC ratings given to homes compared with the sample as a whole. In contrast, very few potential residents who were involved with choosing their care home were likely to refer to CQC ratings. The data suggested that there is some correlation between funding stream and having a choice in care home selection.
The report contains ten recommendations about communication, activities, access to health care, support at mealtimes, suitable environments, complaints, staff training, access to needs assessments and staff attitude.