A rose by any other name
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
Former care minister Paul Burstow, via the Demos report, wants us to drop the ‘care home’ tag and call our facilities ‘housing with care”. This, he says, will be a “bold first step” in reversing the impairment to the sector’s reputation.
The Demos report contains many laudable aspirations but I think this proposed relabelling of care homes is a bit of a donkey. It is already being tried, with quite a few providers referring to their new builds as “care centres” or “communities”. Some have gone for “care hotel”.
I think “care home” is better, certainly preferable to “housing with care” which for me, conjures up an image of an institutional silo, much more so than “care home”. Most of us live in homes and are very happy in them – “home” conveys a sense of belonging. The poet Robert Frost said “Home is where, when you go there, they have to take you in.”
Admittedly, with language, context is everything and “owning your own home” has cosier overtones than “putting your mum in a home”. And of course changing the label on the tin won’t do much unless the contents are improved.
Care homes must work to be a recognised, accepted and celebrated part of the community in which they are situated. Most communities have a local pub, and those pubs need to be a part of the community to survive. If a pub is referred to by its name, say the “Royal Oak” rather than just “the pub down the road” then it has to some measure succeeded. Care homes must work just as hard for that sort of recognition – I’d rather put my Mum in a place I knew as “The Laurels” rather than in housing with care, a care hotel or community, even if The Laurels had the words “care home” on its registration certificate.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.