Headlines: May 1st, 2013

Information to help people choose, compare and comment on residential care homes and home care services is now available on NHS Choices.

The new care profiles provide the most comprehensive source of information on care services. The site allows people to search and compare residential care homes and other care services and make confident choices about registered care for themselves or family members.

The profiles bring together information from a variety of sources, including official information from the Care Quality Commission inspection reports on care services, and from care providers on the specialist services and facilities they offer.

There are also details of staff and other useful information such as sample menus, photos of rooms and gardens. Comments from the public, service users, residents and their families are also included.

Starting next month, the public will be able  to give services star ratings.

The profiles are available on NHS Choices and sit alongside easy to reference information on entitlements to care, paying for care, organising a care need assessment and other practical advice.

More than 8,000 care providers have already added information about their services to their profile on the website, and many more are expected to do so.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “A fully open, transparent and comprehensive service like this will leave bad care nowhere to hide. This means better standards and quality of care across the board.

By reading about the experiences of others, people can make confident choices about their care and help providers know where to make improvements, if needed.”

Over the coming months, care homes and other registered care and support services will be able to add details on how they perform against specific standards such as number of falls, bed sores, medication management and training of staff, as well as missed and on-time visits for homecare.

The site will also allow care providers to reply to comments from the public, so that they can explain to people why they operate in a particular way and, if relevant, what they are doing to improve things so providers and the public can have an open conversation.

This will lead to a greater standard of care for people in care and will mean that care and health services are better organised around people’s needs.