The quality standard is a great start because it makes the agenda for a conversation.
Finbarr Martin

Consultant Geriatrician and Non-Executive Director, NICE

Tailored resource for managers of care homes for older people



This resource is for managers of care homes for older people, including residential and nursing accommodation, day care and respite care. It will help you put NICE's quality standard defining best practice in mental wellbeing of older people in care homes into practice. It highlights key messages for care providers for each of the 6 quality statements that make up the standard. The messages relate to high-priority areas where improvements are needed.

For each quality statement there is an explanation of why it is an area for quality improvement and provides advice and links to resources to help care homes make improvements. Case studies give examples of how outcomes were improved by focusing on a person's needs.

The resource has been produced by the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care and people in the social care sector.

Why this quality standard matters

A decline in mental wellbeing should not be viewed as an inevitable part of ageing. People who live in care homes need the opportunity to take part in meaningful activity and to have access to good mental and physical health services so that they can take part in the daily life of the care home community. By focusing on the needs of each person, care providers can ensure that people can keep active and access health and social care services that keep them as mentally and physically well as possible.

How can the quality standard help care home providers?

Prepare for inspection

The Care Quality Commission has indicated that they will be using NICE guidelines and quality standards to inform its new inspection framework. An awareness and understanding of this quality standard and how the care home is working to use the statements could be used to demonstrate that a provider is working to improve the quality of care relating to the mental wellbeing of older people.

Guide workforce recruitment and development

Managers recruiting staff can use the statements as a framework to assess whether applicants have the right knowledge, attitude and approach to achieve the aspirations in this quality standard. Staff need the competence to do the work, an appreciation of the challenges involved and an understanding of what constitutes a quality service.

Care home managers can use this quality standard as a framework for staff induction and training. The quality standard makes clear what care and support staff should aim to provide. This resource will also help identify the knowledge and skills that care staff need to recognise the factors that contribute to and support mental wellbeing in older people.

Support requests to other services for help

The quality standard emphasises the importance of responding to concerns about mental health, physical health and sensory loss, as well as ensuring access to healthcare. Care staff and managers can use it to remind other professional services of their responsibility to provide care to people living in care homes.

Demonstrate commitment to quality improvement

The quality standard allows care homes to:

  • assess their performance against the quality statements
  • develop an action plan to achieve the levels of quality outlined in each of the statements
  • continuously monitor performance and strive for improvement.

To help inform people looking for a care home

  • People looking for a place in residential care will be reassured to know that a care home is aspiring to achieve the statements in the quality standard.

  • Commissioners of care and health services for older people, including local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and mental health commissioners, need to support care homes to achieve the aspirations reflected in the quality standard, and are also increasingly likely to look for evidence that care homes understand and implement the changes needed to improve care.