This briefing summarises NICE's key recommendations for local authorities and partner organisations on the health and care of older people in care homes. It also highlights relevant quality standards. It is particularly relevant to health and wellbeing boards, scrutiny panels, councillors and adult social care commissioners.

The term 'care home' includes all residential and nursing homes registered with the Care Quality Commission where mainly older people live. Because some younger people may also live in these homes, parts of this briefing may also apply to them.

For the purposes of this briefing, 'older people' are defined as people who need social care support, primarily as a result of the ageing process.

Local authorities have a key role in the integration of health and care services in their local communities. The advice and associated links provided in this briefing will help with work towards person‑centred, integrated care.

Note: this briefing is limited to some of the key areas where NICE guidance and quality standards are currently available. It does not include other sources of information that might be relevant. Other related NICE guidance can be found on the NICE website.

Care homes – background

Local authorities have a range of responsibilities towards care home residents, both as commissioners of services (with a 'duty of care' towards those residents) and as a result of general statutory safeguarding and wellbeing duties under the Care Act 2014. This applies whether or not they run the homes themselves and regardless of whether a resident pays their own fees or not (Care Act 2014 Section 1).

Older people often move to a care home as a result of a crisis, with no preparation and little or no planning. Even when someone needs a lot of support they can have a 'positive life' in a care home or elsewhere and managers of older people's care homes can learn from the care provided in other care settings (see the Joseph Rowntree Foundation's Older people's vision for long term care and Learning for care homes from alternative residential care settings).

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an independent organisation providing guidance and advice to improve health and social care.

For further information on how to use this briefing and how it was developed, see about this briefing.