Healthwatch Bucks improving dignity in care in Bucks

Elderly / old patient

Published by Charlotte Fisher at 1:43pm 15th May 2019.

Healthwatch Bucks is helping improve dignity in care homes across Buckinghamshire.

Over the past year, Healthwatch Bucks has visited 24 care homes across the county to help them improve their dignity in care.

Nearly 80% of care homes have put at least one of Healthwatch Bucks' recommendations in place.

This project, called Dignity in Care, looks at how care homes are performing in 5 key areas;

  • how people treat each other
  • residents' levels of privacy
  • the amount of personal choice they are given
  • the extent to which they are encouraged to be independent
  • whether the care home feels like home, as well as their overall quality of life.

On these visits, Healthwatch Bucks spoke to over 307 people about dignity in care.

Many people said that they were happy with their care:

"If you can't be in your own home, you couldn't be anywhere better"

"The care here is phenomenal".

However, there were some areas in which some care homes could improve.

Healthwatch Bucks heard comments like

"They're (the staff) so busy."

"No choice in what we eat, no choice in how it's cooked and no choice in what we do."

Based on what is observed, or heard, on the day, Healthwatch Bucks then provides the care home with recommendations on how they can improve.

21 of the care homes visited in the last year have made changes based on these recommendations.

Care homes have put up pictorial activity schedules and menus to make them easier to understand for residents with dementia.

Some care homes have also reminded staff to not assume that residents having made a choice about something, will always make the same decision in the future.

Thalia Jervis, Chief executive of Healthwatch Bucks said:

"This is a project that really does make a difference. 

"Even small changes can have a huge impact on the quality of life for residents. And it's great to know that we have helped care homes do this."

Gillian Quinton, Executive Director (Communities, Health and Adult Social Care) at Buckinghamshire County Council wrote a response to the report.

"Thank you for sending us the Dignity in Care annual report for 2018 -19 -this work is helpful for commissioners and operational teams to gain further insight into the views of individuals receiving health and social care services in Buckinghamshire.

"I have reviewed your report and it is positive to see that so many of the services that we commission are providing quality care to people and that the best performing area was how people are treated with 79% of homes receiving over 4 stars."

There's more information on the Dignity in Care project here.

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