Familiarity breeds confidence
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
Unfettered by ministerial constraints, Lib-Dem MP Paul Burstow has become something of a campaigner in the wake of the Demos Commission’s report on residential care.
We all know that, while reports have their uses, very rarely are their recommendations crystallised into government policy but Mr Burstow made an interesting observation when he was selling the Demos report to the ‘All Change’ conference in November, organised by Caring Times and Lester Aldridge Solicitors.
We are all aware of the simplistic claim that “most people say they would rather stay at home than go into a care home” but Mr Burstow said the Demos Commission found that people who had had some contact with care homes – perhaps a relative had been a resident in one, perhaps they’d worked in one or visited one in some professional or community capacity – were much more likely to consider living in a care home. In other words, people who have some idea of what care homes are like are less prey to the fear of the unknown.
The message is clear – care homes need to get out and engage with the surrounding community, they need to help their residents get out and about and be a part of those communities. By doing this, people will begin to view care homes as community assets, as havens where residents lead enriched and happy lives.
Many care homes are already doing this and National Care Home Open Day is a terrific initiative, but too many care homes are still doing too little and are seen by too many as alien entities where old people are “banged-up”, out of sight and out of mind.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.