Adult social care partners join forces to better manage care home closures

Care home closures

A new good practice guide has been published to help minimise the impact on people, and their families and carers of a care home closing due to poor care, an emergency or market exit.

Published this week, Managing care home closures has been produced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), NHS England (NHSE), the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Care Provider Alliance (CPA).

Regional chief nurse at NHS England, Margaret Kitching, said: “While we encourage people to do all they can to prevent care homes from closing wherever possible, when a care home is no longer able to continue providing a service its closure needs to be managed very carefully.

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“The Care Quality Commission and the NHS, together with local government and others across the independent care sector, have worked to produce this guide to ensure closures are handled sensitively and are well-managed.”

The guide sets out how local and national organisations should work together to co-ordinate action, avoid duplication and prevent confusion for people using services, their families and carers, care home providers and their managers and staff.

Recommendations include:

  • Appointing a coordinator within the lead local authority for families, carers or other advocates who will ensure there is an accurate list of all residents and their needs, together with up-to-date names, addresses and telephone numbers of family representatives, and who will seek fullest involvement in the relocation process.
  • Placing a poster in the care home with key information about the planned closure, including contact details for residents, carers, families and staff to refer queries, questions and complaints.
  • Appointing a transport co-ordinator within the lead local authority to act as a single point of contact and oversee timely moves: e.g. to notify ambulance staff in good time so that residents are not kept waiting for transport outside the home and are helped to move only in daylight hours.
  • Assessments of residents’ health and care needs should start to be considered straight away, rather than waiting for an urgent closure legal notice to be served, as arrangements can be explored in the meantime.

Publication of the guide was welcomed by Frank Ursell of the Care Provider Alliance who said it should remove some of the uncertainty that can accompany a care home closure.

Chief executive of Action on Elder Abuse, Gary Fitzgerald, added: “We would encourage all agencies to follow both the spirit and intent of this new guide, and we will obviously watch its implementation closely.”

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