In December 2013 NICE published new standards to help care homes tackle loneliness, depression and low self-esteem in older people.
With the number of older people in the UK set to rise to 16 million over the next 20 years and more people living longer than ever before, the quality standard on the mental wellbeing of older people in care homes describes how services should be configured to ensure people in care homes receive excellent care and support.
A film has been made by the NICE collaborating centre for social care to support the NICE quality standard The film focuses primarily on an a roundtable event which took place in March 2014 at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and included key organisations from the health and social care sector discussing each of the six quality statements; what they mean and how they can be put into practice. Also in attendance at the event were some of the older people resident at the Royal Chelsea Hospital infirmary who discussed what the quality statements meant to them and recounted their own experiences of living in a care home.
Along with useful ideas of how the quality standard can be used, the film also contains interview footage from Andrea Sutcliffe, Chief Inspector for Social Care at the Care Quality Commission and Finbarr Martin, a Non-Executive Director at NICE. The interviews highlight the importance of the quality standard and how it is used to inform the Care Quality Commission’s Inspection framework.
The film is accompanied by a report of the roundtable event which can also be used to understand and use the quality standard. The report provides handy tips and hints on how to organise a roundtable discussion locally in order to share ideas on how the quality statements can be put into practice.
In 2011, there were slightly more than 10 million people over the age of 65 living in the UK with more than 400,000 living in care homes. Care homes provide many people with the extra support they need, but many are still not providing care that is focused on an individual's needs.
The quality standard recommends that older people in care homes are offered opportunities to participate in meaningful activities which promote health and mental wellbeing. In 2007, the Alzheimer's Society highlighted that care home residents do not have the opportunity to take part in enough activities to occupy their time. A lack of activity is one factor that can negatively affect a person's mental wellbeing.
The standard also addresses a problem that sometimes exists in older people gaining access to NHS services. It recommends that older people have the symptoms and signs of mental health conditions and physical problems recognised and recorded as part of their care plan, and that they have access to the full range of healthcare services when they need them.
Older people in care homes should also be supported to maintain and develop their personal identity. Focusing on the needs and wishes of an individual will help to promote dignity and respect and have a positive impact on their sense of identity and mental wellbeing.