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"Unacceptable quality of life" in care homes.


Many older people living in care homes in Wales have an "unacceptable quality of life" and quickly become institutionalised, according to a report by an older peoples’ watchdog.

The report, published by the Older People's Commissioner for Wales, said care homes were seen as places of "irreversible decline" where residents were unable to do things that matter to them.

The Welsh government says it is already taking action on issues raised in the report, A Place To Call Home.

Care Forum Wales, which represents 500 care providers, said the report’s findings echo what it has been saying for some time.

In preparing the report, health and social care experts made unannounced visits to 100 care homes across Wales.  In addition, more than 2,000 questionnaires were completed by care home residents and their families.

The report's key conclusion was: "Too many older people living in care homes quickly become institutionalised. Their personal identity and individuality rapidly diminishes and they have a lack of choice and control over their lives."

The report looked at residents' social participation, their home environment, diet, staffing and training as well as the commissioning, regulation and inspection of services.

Commissioner Sarah Rochira called "for action to deliver the change required within our care homes and ensure that quality of life sits at the heart of the delivery of residential and nursing care across Wales."

She said: "While my review found excellent examples of truly person-centred care, enabling and empowering care that delivers the very best outcomes for older people, there are significant variations across Wales that result in too many older people living in care homes having an unacceptable quality of life."

The review was undertaken using the commissioner's statutory powers which means care providers and public bodies have to act on the findings.

Chief inspector of the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW), Imelda Richardson, said the inspectorate had moved away from a ‘tick-box’ culture to focusing on quality of life for people during its inspections of older people's care homes in Wales. She said while the majority of care homes provide good or excellent care, there is "still an unacceptable level of care in some homes".

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "We are already taking action on many of the areas highlighted in this report through a draft bill to strengthen the regulation and inspection of social services.

"We expect the care sector to consider this report carefully - as the Welsh government will - and reply to the Older People's Commissioner's specific points."