Reform of residential care services needs to accelerate, says National Assembly committee
Improvements to how residential care services are delivered in Wales need to speed up according to a National Assembly for Wales committee.
The Health and Social Care Committee has written to the Minister for Health and Social Services, Mark Drakeford AM, setting out areas to consider.
The Committee highlighted access to independent advocacy as a key part of quality care for older people and has called on the Welsh Government, local authorities, and health boards to work together to secure appropriate and sustainable funding for independent advocacy services across Wales.
Image from Flickr by Ian Britton. Licensed under the Creative Commons
The Committee also believes that using lay assessors to inspect facilities is an opportunity for the voices of older people to be heard, and recommends that the Welsh Government use all mechanisms available to ensure that those running, regulating and inspecting residential care services have a clear understanding of daily life in a care home.
Mandatory staff training was also highlighted as a cause for concern after the Older People's Commissioner for Wales, Sarah Rochira, found that an estimated two fifths of all care staff were waiting to undergo even the most basic of training. The findings were included in the Commissioner's Care Home Review report published in 2014.
The Committee welcomes the work being undertaken to map out training needs in Wales, but felt that the process needed to accelerate. It also wants to see mandatory dementia training included in a wider package of development.
"The Committee has taken a close look at residential and social care services throughout the Fourth Assembly," said David Rees AM, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee.
"Many of the recommendations the Committee made in our Residential Care for Older People report published in 2012 have been included in legislation introduced by the Welsh Government since then.
"However, the Committee feels that, while progress has been made, the pace needs to accelerate to ensure that older people have access to the services they need, that their voices are being heard, and that the staff charged with their care have the necessary training."
The Committee raises eight areas for the Minister to consider, including:
- Calling upon the Welsh Government, local authorities, and health boards to work together to secure appropriate and sustainable funding for independent advocacy services across Wales;
- All mechanisms available – including the use of lay assessors – should be utilised to ensure that those running, regulating and inspecting residential care services have a clear understanding of daily life in a care home; and
- Welcoming the work that will be undertaken to map the existing training provision and the consideration of existing research to address variations. The Committee notes this will be an evolving process and time will be needed to identify the most appropriate form of training to meet all needs. Nevertheless it believes that this work needs to be undertaken with pace.
Letter from the Health and Social Care Committee to the Minister for Health and Social Services following its scrutiny session with the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales on 20 January 2016 regarding residential care for older people (PDF, 541KB)
More information about the Health and Social Care Committee.
More information about the residential care for older people report published in 2012.
Scrutiny session with the Older People's Commissioner for Wales: preparation for oral evidence session