The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Communities which provided Members with an update on the work of the Care Homes Project. The Appendix to the report contained the Interim Report of the Halton Care Home Project undertaken in March 2014.
The Board was advised that Halton Care Homes project had been in operation since July 2013. The project aimed to improve the quality of care within homes in the Borough through: review of current care practices; analysis of the range and ease of access residents have to health and social care services and identify sustainable ways to improve treatment, care and support.
The Board was further advised that the project had identified that the care provided by homes they have worked with has been of a high standard. The project had worked closely with the full range of Halton’s community health and social care services. A clinical reference group had been supporting the aims of the project and some immediate solutions to issues had been implemented. The project had also grouped some of the key issues into seven areas: communication; end of life care; physical care; pharmacy; equipment; primary care utilisation and activities. It was reported that further work was ongoing to identify an appropriate level of clinical support to continue the work of the project.
The following comments arose from the discussion:-
· Clarity was sought on who made the decision on whether to call out a GP or not in a care home. It was reported that people in care homes were being admitted into hospital as a result of the GP not being called at an earlier stage. In response, it was reported that this training and development would help to address this matter i.e. staff could be trained to test for such things as a urine infection and if the stick proved to show an infection, the GP could be called in at an early stage;
· Concern was raised that GPs had different preferred methods for communication and some GPs would not accept telephone calls. In response, it was reported that the report would be presented to the GPs next month with clear recommendations for communication practices with care homes to ensure there was a consistent approach across all GP practices with the care homes. It was also reported that GPs were keen to adopt a consistent approach to this issue;
· It was highlighted that in some care homes, individuality was lost as they were treated as patients not as a ‘person’. In response, it was reported that work was taking place on leadership and management within care homes with good practices being shared and consideration given to how they could be adopted in their care home setting i.e. a tv room made to look like a theatre and activities taking place during the day that residents can dip in and out of. This would create a culture where they would challenge each other. The importance of activities in the care home setting was noted;
· It was noted that the local Quality Assurance Team and the Quality Care Commission (CQC) monitored care services, including Council staff;
· Concern was raised regarding the end of life plans, indicating that they were not updated regularly and people go through different phases in their life which necessitates that they should be updated on a regular basis;
· It was noted that the Authority had ceased some activities in Dorset Gardens and the community recently due to a lack of participation. It was reported that the CQC had recently looked at Dorset Gardens and it was agreed that a copy of the report be circulated to all Members of the Board; and
· It was agreed that a further report on the care homes be presented to a future meeting of the Board.
RESOLVED: That the report, Appendix 1 and comments raised be noted.