The My Home Life team have put together a programme of ongoing research and development to help staff optimise the quality of life in care homes.
This research helped identify eight best practice themes, which together form a vision for care homes in the 21st century:
Moving to a care home is a major, often final, transition in life and may involve considerable losses. While such a move often has negative connotations, if properly planned and managed it may bring benefits and a better quality of life.
Maintaining a sense of identity is linked with self-esteem and perceptions about the quality of life. Living in a care home can undermine that sense. Person-centred care is essential to helping residents retain a sense of identity.
Rather than trying to make care homes more home-like, care homes can be created as communities. This allows reciprocity of relationships and the opportunity for those residents who are able to (and choose to) to contribute to the care home.
Sharing decision making
The wish to be involved in decision-making is likely to vary from one individual to another but where it is desired, residents should be encouraged to participate in all aspects of decision-making in the care home.
Health is an essential ingredient of quality of life.
Supporting good end-of-life
The nature of ill health in older age can make it difficult to define at what point
someone is dying.
Standards for those who are dying in care homes are vague and reflect society's reluctance to face mortality.
Keeping workforce fit for purpose
Keeping track of the education and training needs of the workforce in the care home sector requires ongoing research and the sharing of lessons learnt from attempts to improve practice through education.
Promoting a positive culture
The culture of a home directly affects the quality of life of its residents.
A positive culture is one where the ethos of care is built around the resident and is based on evidence. Effective leadership and management and the availability of expert advice is paramount in the creation and maintenance of a positive culture.
You can find resources to keep to up to date on ideas, tips and examples of good practice on the Help the Aged website.