New Healthwatch report highlights variation in care homes, Alzheimer's Society comments

A new report published today by Healthwatch has highlighted the striking variation in care homes across the country.

Healthwatch staff and volunteers across England visited 197 care homes in 63 different local authority areas to record the experiences of many of those living in care homes. Environment, activities, staffing and wider health needs were among the topics residents were asked about.

Despite largely positive feedback, Healthwatch volunteer visitors witnessed homes not getting the basics right. Even those providing excellent care failed to tick all the boxes.

Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive Officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: 

'Sadly, I’m not at all surprised by these findings. They testify to the existing issues with staff training across the sector, and echo what our investigation last year found - that one in three homecare workers had received absolutely no dementia training, resulting in people with dementia left in soiled sheets, and becoming ill after eating out-of-date food.

'Given that almost three-quarters of care home residents are living with dementia this has to change.  We can see from these reports that many staff have the right enthusiasm and attitude, but they need to be supported by a sector that equips them with the skills to do a good job.

'Adequate dementia training not only enables care workers to deliver good quality, personalised care, but it is also instrumental in promoting their confidence and sense of value. A system starved of funding leads to cut corners and easily avoidable mistakes. We need a new approach and new funding, so staff can deliver the quality care that people with dementia want and deserve.'