Living life to the full in care homes in East Sussex
Healthwatch East Sussex, your local independent watchdog for people who use health and care services visited 44 care homes across East Sussex in 2019.
These visits, the fourth wave in a programme to visit every care home in East Sussex, concentrated on care homes for older people, and included care homes in both rural and urban parts of the county.
We are absolutely delighted to share with you a report that includes excellent examples of great care that older people we engaged with told us about.
Residents were overwhelmingly positive about living in the care homes. They were able to give a wide range of answers to the question about what ‘is the best thing about being in the care home’.
Consistent messages were that they:
·could make choices and decisions
·were able to be as independent as they wanted to be; and
·received very good support when they needed it.
What residents appreciated most was the activities provided. Some care homes have been very innovative in their activity programmes.
One finding we especially liked was the way in which some services brought the ‘community’ into the care home when residents said they could not access the community.
Residents were particularly fond of the range of animals visiting and events which included children, of all ages. Many had very good links with local pre-school nurseries and groups as well as with schools.
All care homes provided access to an outdoor area. Some used these in imaginative ways, such as gardens with raised beds so residents could help in the garden.
Increasingly, technology is being introduced to many services to constructively assist residents and help keep them safe.
Nearly all care homes had residents who were living with levels of dementia. Care homes had, as a result, identified ways of supporting these residents’ special needs, particularly to help them navigate around the care home. Some of this was imaginative and new.
Whilst some residents thought they could not help around the home, others said they could. Some services were better at encouraging and enabling residents to help.
We would like to encourage everyone to share the numerous examples of very good practices reported on so other services can make changes at very little cost and continue to drive up the overall quality of life in care homes in East Sussex.
Our recommendations are that the following agencies share the good practice and encourage other services to adopt the best practices identified:
·East Sussex County Council, Adult Social Care commissioners of health and social care services; and
·Care Quality Commission (CQC) as the regulators and scrutiny committee’s in East Sussex; and
·HWES and partners promote the report as a valuable public resource for helping people to know what to look for when choosing a care home (residents, families, carers etc).
John Routledge, Director of East Sussex Community Voice delivering Healthwatch East Sussex said,
“It is an absolute pleasure for HWES to be publishing a report with so many examples of great practice. Service providers, commissioners and regulators can learn a great deal from this report and I also hope families and carers will use the report findings as a guide to know what to look for when choosing a care home.
This report is dedicated to all the people living in the care homes we visited, their carers and Healthwatch volunteers who all gave their time so generously.”