Abstracts: September 17th, 2014

The Demos report on the Commission on Residential Care calls for
a housing with care sector fit for the twenty-first century.

The objectives of the Commission were to create a vision of ‘housing with care’, not bound by existing definitions and
to set out how the existing offer could change to deliver this vision, across financial, operational, governance and cultural aspects of care.

Over 450,000 older and working-age disabled people live in residential care, yet the many acts of hospitality, human kindness and great care are drowned out by stories of shocking abuse.

This report starts with a simple proposition: residential care has a future; it is an essential part of our health and social care system. At its best it has lessons to teach the NHS about the care and support of frail older people.

Rebranding residential care as a part of a spectrum of housing options with care is a prerequisite of delivering the twenty-first-century care system we want to see. Housing with care separates the decisions about the ‘what’ of care from the ‘where’ we live.

Chronic underfunding of social care is undermining the best endeavours of those who would reform and reinvent residential care. Without a fair funding settlement for social care the trend towards a two-tier system of residential care will accelerate, with those who cannot afford the cost of care condemned to a mediocre, life-limiting experience in the poorest quality homes, staffed by the lowest paid, least qualified staff.

Westminster, Whitehall and town hall leaders can create the conditions for a better kind of residential care, which starts by recognising the importance we attach to home and social connectedness. It involves breaking the false link between the ‘what’ of care and ‘where’ we live. Breaking this arbitrary link will enable much more innovation and greater transparency and clarity between the costs of care, accommodation and services.

The research undertaken and evidence gathered to support the Commission demonstrates what good housing with care can achieve, what people want in support following frailty in old age, or a disability earlier in life, and what good care ‘looks like’ in specialist residential settings.

The report recommends a number of measures to embed good practice and challenge public perceptions. These include enshrining a broader, more accurate definition of ‘housing with care’ throughout government policy; greater co-location of care settings with other community services such as colleges; the expansion of CQC’s role in inspecting commissioning practices; and promoting excellence in the profession through the introduction of a license to practice and a living wage.

The Commission on Residential Care is published by Demos.
ISBN 978-1-909037-65-6. £10.00