Monday 17 December 2018
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Study Finds That Care Home Residents Experience of Care Generally Exceeds Their Expectations

Most of the care home residents who took part in a study by the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) at the University of Kent told researchers that their actual experience of living in a care home had been better than theyexpected.

The residents interviewed for the study – once just after moving into their care home and again three months or more later – generally found that they had more say over their lives than expected.

They also felt their quality of life had improved, their health and other needs were being met, and their social life was as good as or better than it had previously been.

Results of the study show that, without exception across many different aspects of their lives, the care home residents believed that they were more in control of what happened to them – and in some instances much more in control – than they had thought they would be before moving to the care home.

Residents’ experience exceeded their own expectations with regard to:
* when they could receive visitors – 74% expected this; 94% experienced it
* coming and going as they pleased – 64% expected this; 74% experienced it
* being alone when they wanted – 62% expected this; 100% experienced it
* deciding when to get up – 43% expected this; 84% experienced it
* deciding when to go to bed – 58% expected this; 96% experienced it
* getting a hot drink when wanted – 55% expected this; 80% experienced it
* arranging room as they wanted – 51% expected this; 86% experienced it
* help from staff when they wanted – 49% expected this; 82% experienced it
* having a choice of meals – 41% expected this; 84% experienced it
* locking their room when they left it – 29% expected this; 60% experienced it

Almost all residents felt safe, clean, appropriately dressed, comfortable and warm. Of the residents in the study who had not previously lived in a care home, only 39% had initially believed that care homes in general were good, with 21%
thinking they were bad. In the follow-up interviews conducted after they had been in their new care home for three months or more, 84% believed that care homes in general were good, with none of the participants now thinking they were bad.

Relatives of residents considered too frail to take part in the study were also interviewed. They told researchers that, for a substantial number of residents, quality of life had changed from bad or very bad to good or very good.

In the initial study, only 17% of relatives thought care homes in general were good. However, as many as 92% of relatives who were followed up three or more months after their loved one had moved into a care home thought care
homes in general were good.

The study was conducted by the PSSRU for the Registered Nursing Home Association (RNHA) during 2008 and 2009 to find out whether residents’ experience of life in a care home fulfilled, exceeded or fell below their initial expectations. Funding was provided by the RNHA and the Department of Health.

The 69 residents who took part were living at the time in 46 randomly selected care homes (some with nursing and some providing personal care only) across six different regions of the country.

The mix of the randomly selected homes included some with three, two, one and zero star ratings to ensure that the sample was as representative as possible of the range of care homes in England.

Study author Robin Darton of the PSSRU at the University of Kent said: “The results show that, for the majority of care home residents who took part in the study, their experience of living in a care home generally exceeded their expectations.

What is significant about this study is that it explored the views of care home residents themselves.”
RNHA chief executive officer Frank Ursell added: “We are grateful to the PSSRU for conducting this study and for providing an extremely new dimension to the debate about life in care homes. It is clear that, for many individuals, going into a care home makes a positive difference to their lives.

This challenges the assumption made by some commentators that older people would nearly always prefer to stay in their own homes. In many instances, this is simply not the case.”