Headlines: August 19th, 2005

Recommendations by the Office of Fair Trading, which aim to improve the experience for older people and their families when they choose to live in care homes, have been accepted by the Government. The recommendations result from a study which was prompted by a complaint in 2003 from the Social Policy Ageing Information Network, whose members include Age Concern, Help the Aged, The Association of Charity Officers, and the Alzheimer’s Society.The OFT found that older people and their representatives face significant problems in finding information about moving into a care home, often at a time of difficult and distressing circumstances. The recommendation that there should be a single information point for information has been accepted and a central one-stop-shop will be set up to provide clear and comprehensive information to help people choose care for themselves or relatives. The shop will be part of DirectGov.

National care homes regulators have given a commitment that they will ensure that written contracts are in place for all care home residents in line with the minimum standards and regulations for care homes. This was also a major concern.

Other recommendations were directed at the Commission for Social Care Inspection, local councils and care homes, who will answer independently. The Government will be working collaboratively with these organisations to ensure that older people and their families benefit from the recommendations being put into effect.