The Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) has welcomed recommendations in a report jointly published by the Department of Health and Comic Relief – Protect and Respect – for strengthening collaboration between hospitals, care homes and regulators in preventing abuse of older people.
Said RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell: “We in the care home sector support the proposal that there should be a greater and more consistent exchange of ideas and information between these different organisations.
“The RNHA has often called in the past for more effective and systematic collaboration. We should like to think that the PANICOA (Preventing Abuse and Neglect in Institutional Care of Older Adults) report will have an impact, although in our experience it takes more than a report to bring about real change.”
He added: “We were interested to read the findings of the research behind the report, which identified pressures on resources in care homes with large numbers of publicly funded residents. The research also highlighted the fact that local authorities, as care commissioners, generally under-estimate the constraints under which care providers are working. This doesn’t tell us what we didn’t already know, but it is valuable to have it confirmed from an independent source.
“The research also found little evidence of actual physical harm being done to patients in the care homes visited and said that basic ‘hands on’ care was generally good and, at times, excellent, albeit suffering from inadequate resources. What is refreshing about this latest report is that, unlike many others from official sources, it regards resources as an integral part of the care equation. At least this injects a sense of reality into the debate about standards.”
Linking the PANICOA findings to earlier research commissioned by the Registered Nursing Home Association from the PSSRU Unit at the University of Kent, Mr Ursell said 98% of patients interviewed for latter study said they felt safe in their care home and 96% said that their health and care needs were being met.
He said: “On the whole, some high quality research done over recent years shows that there is a lot of good work going on in care homes and that the vast majority of staff are doing their best, often in difficult circumstances. This latest report recognises that the level of resources invested in care can and does make a difference. It also acknowledges the need for different organisations to work together in stamping out abuse where it occurs.”
Mr Ursell concluded: “Will the government, which has jointly published the report, now increase resources for older people’s care in real terms and bring organisations together in the ways suggested in the report? The jury is out on that one. But if there is a genuine commitment at the top, the RNHA is ready, willing and able to play its part.”