A major study has called on the NHS and care homes to work together to provide better care for the half million people in residential care.
The three-year study led by the University of Hertfordshire and City, University of London and funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) found that healthcare provision was often “erratic and inequitable” in care homes across England.
Lead author Professor Claire Goodman from the University of Hertfordshire’s Centre for Research in Primary and Community Care, said: “It is essential that residents in care homes – some of the oldest and frailest in society – have access to healthcare that is equitable and equivalent to those received by older people living at home.
“The Optimal study shows what needs to be in place for this to happen and found many examples of effective integrated working. Across England, however, access to healthcare for care home residents continues to be highly unpredictable.”
The study found that a joined-up approach to care was being hampered a negative perception of care homes among NHS decision makers.
The research says national collaboration between the NHS and care homes should be part of the “landscape of care”.
Professor Julienne Meyer, Professor of Nursing Care for Older Adult at City, University of London and co-author of the paper, said: “Our report shows that it’s time for the NHS to see care homes as partners not problems, and to achieve this we have identified a number of ways that the NHS and care homes can work better together to deliver high quality, cost-effective healthcare to the near half million people in residential care.
“We are all going to get old, so we need to ensure that the lives of older people, and the care homes they live in are properly supported to deliver effective care in collaboration with the NHS.”
To read the report click here.