According to research published today by Care England and the Good Governance Institute, only five of the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (11%) include independent care home or social care providers as partner organisations. While the vast majority of STPs (93%) mention care homes, the quality of in-depth discussion is extremely variable, with very few including strategies for reviving this struggling sector or enabling homes to provide integrated care for older people. It is widely recognised that better care home provision would reduce unnecessary hospital admissions and delayed transfers of care, which together place significant pressure on the system.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, said: “It is essential that care home providers are given ‘a seat at the table’ if the STP goals of bringing more care into the community and reducing hospital admissions are to be fulfilled. The care sector urgently needs to be more involved in the transformation and integration agenda in order to ensure the sustainability of the sector into the future, improving the health and wellbeing of the older population as well the performance of the health and social care system as a whole.”
Despite the rising incidence of dementia and mental health problems among older people, only two STPs include specific strategies on how these conditions can be effectively managed in the care home setting. A further nine go into some level of detail on these issues, as opposed to simply stating that problems exist.
Andrew Corbett-Nolan, Chief Executive of the Good Governance Institute, said: “Our new report shows that there is significant progress to be made in terms of properly involving care home providers in STPs, particularly when it comes to dementia and the mental health of older people. We know from other sources that good work is taking place in the six NHS England Enhanced Health in Care Home vanguards and that they are already seeing improved outcomes for care home residents, but in most cases this work is poorly represented in their written STPs. That makes it difficult for other organisations to learn from and deploy their best practices in terms of joined up working, innovative work-streams, smart use of technology and robust governance processes.”
The Care England and GGI discussion paper, developed through a literature review and desktop review of all 44 STPs, includes a series of case studies on best practices from the six vanguards.