The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England. They are responsible for inspecting elderly care homes, and reporting on them including giving them a ‘rating’. This system, as well as providing ‘checks and balances’ for the care of vulnerable individuals in England, also provides those looking at potential homes with some data to understand how ‘good’ a home is. Homes can be rated ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’, or ‘inadequate’. Not all homes have yet been assessed, but the majority have. These reports help us to understand what makes the best care home for the elderly.
Of the 80% which have already been assessed, 63% of homes are rated as good or outstanding, with the outstanding rating being very rare indeed (1% of care homes). The very best care homes are rare – our Raleigh Mead home in South Molton is one example. Looking at this home, we can begin to understand what truly makes the best homes.
The Guardian has reported that outstanding care homes have three common attributes:
Interestingly, it is the small private care home providers, like Eastleigh, that typically achieve these three elements. We find that creating the best requires these three elements coming together through two key functions: staffing, and facilities.
Wonderful care staff make the difference between a great home, and a poor one. This is why care homes must invest as much in their staff as they do in their residents. The first directly benefits the second. Staff who feel supported, capable, and confident create a true atmosphere of care for our residents.
This means providing staff with appropriate training and seeking out those appropriately qualified, as well as having an aptitude for the caring profession. It means providing fair and appropriate remuneration, time-off, and a pleasant working atmosphere. This starts and ends with the home’s manager. This is why we spent time carefully selecting the managers of our Eastleigh homes to ensure we have the best staff in order to deliver the best care to our residents.
The second function we believe elevates a home from satisfactory to good, or outstanding, is the building and facilities of the care home itself. Without the best facilities, the staff can’t care to the best of their ability.
Ensuring that resources are ploughed in to facilities in the care home is essential to providing the best in elderly care. This doesn’t simply mean nice and working furniture, buildings, grounds, and the ‘tools’ of care. It means investing in the wider facilities which are essential to good elderly care, applying best practice, or current research (such as our revolutionary dementia-friendly lighting), a comprehensive activities programme, the services provided within the home, the food, drink, and socialising facilities. None of these areas can be neglected.
There are additional elements which make the best care homes. For us, this can be summed up in one word: community.
Our homes are among the very best because they are a tight-knit community in themselves, and are an integral part of the wider community around them. Our residents are facilitated to be important members of our community, not simply ‘residents’. They matter to us, and they matter to each other. Beyond this, our residents are not islands – they have families, friends, and loved ones, all of whom are also part of the Eastleigh community. Our links and engagement with GPs, healthcare providers, hairdressers, faith organisations, and more, also are incredibly valuable.
When you bring all of these elements together, then you will make the best elderly care. These homes are the ones where you feel confident you are making the best choice for your loved one. We’re proud Eastleigh provide three of the best homes in Devon and Somerset.