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Older People’s Commissioner calls for better protection for care home residents

14.3.12

Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Ruth Marks, has called on the Welsh Government to review and update guidance to offer greater protection for residents of care homes at risk of closure.

A report issued to the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, highlights limitations in the current guidance, which sets out the responsibilities of a range of public bodies where there are accumulating issues about the operation of a care home, or the quality of care provided.

The report sets out how the current limitations should be addressed and includes recommendations to increase access to independent advocacy services for older people and fulfil the legal duty to provide Independent Mental Capacity Advocates in certain circumstances. The report also calls for good practice from Wales, and elsewhere in the UK, to be included as part of the updated guidance.

Highlighting the pressing need for the guidance to be updated, Ruth Marks said:

“Older people and their families consistently raise concerns about the interests of older people who are living in care homes that are closing or are under the threat of closure.

“In its current form, the guidance does not set out clearly enough what older people and their relatives can expect to experience in certain situations, often leaving them feeling isolated and ill-informed, with no-one to turn to for support. Older people have shared with me the worry and distress caused by not knowing what the future holds in such circumstances.

“Older people have the right to a clear explanation for the reasons that a care home might be closed, to understand their options and to be reassured that they will remain safe and well cared for during this process. It is also vital that older people can access independent advocates to help them voice their questions and concerns. Advocacy should be a core resource available to all care home residents and is particularly important as part of any home closure process.” 

Report to the First Minister concerning the Welsh Government Guidance ‘Escalating Concerns with, and closures of, care homes providing services for adults’ (.doc)

Report to the First Minister concerning the Welsh Government Guidance ‘Escalating Concerns with, and closures of, care homes providing services for adults’ (.pdf)