As it says on the site, it is
‘a new initiative aimed at improving the quality of life of those who are living, dying, visiting and working in care homes for older people.’
And it certainly sounded like a lot of work had been put into looking at good practice that is currently happening in residential and nursing homes around the UK (although primarily the research has been based in England) and creating models the other residential homes can learn from and work with.
Julienne Meyer who is heading the project research, spoke passionately about the need to promote positive experiences in residential care as there was and had been historically, too much focus on ‘bad news’ stories.
The nature of these sessions is that they are short – in some cases that isn’t a bad thing but I really would have liked some more times to discuss some of the issues that were raised here.
The project has an online space for sharing resources and materials between residential homes and has some downloadable materials that can be used by care staff and managers of the homes.
There are a number of themes that are being focused on and it was good that one of the things that was emphasised was building links with and involving family members in the residential home.
There is an emphasis here on relationship-centred care which certainly makes a lot of sense and can make the experience of living in a communal environment a more positive one in my view.
It is a good initiative all round. My cynicism is based on some experiences (although by no means all) in working with residential homes where staff are paid at minimum wage levels and managers are being pushed by owners to cut costs. I like that there is some research that is based on good practice though. And there were some stories and ideas that gave hope to the goal of improving care standards for those living in communal environments.
I know, not least because I spent a good few years working in residential care as a support worker (where I was fortunate to work in a home which had created a wonderful environment and both promoted and demanded a very high quality of care where the importance of home was never forgotten) that there is a lot of good practice out there, it is just good to be reminded of it from time to time.
(And in less serious news, one day at Community Care Live netted me, 18 black biros, three mugs, two mouse mats, three coasters (although I don’t remember ever having used a coaster in my own home), one pencil (I was concentrating on the pens), some mints, a book about african culture and two cloth bags – It does look a bit greedy in retrospect but in my defence, the pens, at least two of the mugs and.. the coasters are heading to work with me!).