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As they launch their residential care report, Healthwatch Isle of Wight have said there is a ‘staggering’ difference in quality delivered within care and nursing homes across the Isle of Wight.

Throughout the course of 2015, Healthwatch Isle of Wight received increasing amounts of feedback from members of the public, expressing concerns around the quality of care provided within a significant number of residential and nursing homes on the Island. Quality of Care was subsequently identified as a priority workplan topic for the organisation as a result of the annual prioritisation survey and targeted engagement work then began.

A spokesperson for Healthwatch Isle of Wight has said:

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“We felt it was important not just to listen to people’s experiences of care and nursing homes, but to reflect on why some homes are performing better than others and what can be done to support those homes that are failing. There were 3 strands to the workplan: the collections of people’s experiences, a survey for registered managers and planned enter and view visits to a range of residential care and nursing homes.

“We found a vast difference in the quality of care provided in nursing and residential care homes across the Island. Some homes had a clear vision and strong leadership which contributed to a culture of continuous quality improvement and a desire to improve the quality of life of the vulnerable people they support. Other managers and their staff seemed to be drowning in a wave of bureaucracy, paperwork and staff shortages leading to an inevitable drop in standards and a poor quality of care”.

“Basic requirements, such as ensuring that residents were supported to wear prescription glasses and hearing aids, were not followed. Misconceptions were made about one person’s cognitive ability because he could not recall what day it was – it was not considered that this may be difficult to comprehend when there is no daily paper, clock or calendar to refer to.

“Most homes offered a range of activities for their residents, but the quality and quantity of activities offered varied enormously amongst the homes and not all managers demonstrated an understanding of the need for meaningful stimulation and the effect this can have on a person’s quality of life. Lack of stimulation and lack of meaningful activities was an issue that meant people’s skill levels deteriorated and increased their dependence on others.

“Many of the staff that we observed at work were committed, compassionate and caring, working hard to support people with very complex needs. However, the difference in quality, delivered within local care and nursing homes is staggering. Some homes are well led and promote a positive, inclusive and welcoming environment, where staff are ‘enablers’ rather than just ‘care workers’.”

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Healthwatch have made 7 recommendations for the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Local Authority and 3 for Care Providers. The Clinical Commissioning Group and Local Authority have issued a joint response, which says:

“The Isle of Wight Council and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) welcome the report from Healthwatch. We value the contribution that the report makes to recognising the good quality of care that residential care homes and nursing homes provide on the island and to highlighting where improvements are necessary so people living in the homes have a positive experience.

“We are committed to sharing good practice and driving up standards, fully endorsing the Healthwatch comment “that an outstanding level of care is not only achievable but essential to the well-being of older people”.

It was encouraging to read that “some homes had a clear vision and strong leadership which contributed to a culture of continuous improvement and a desire to improve the quality of life of the vulnerable people they support”. It was disconcerting to note that “other managers and their staff felt they were drowning in a wave of bureaucracy, paperwork and staff shortages, leading to an inevitable drop in standards and poor quality of care” and would want to see plans to address these concerns. However it was good to note that there is still a shared ambition to ensure all homes operate at a consistently good standard.

“We are encouraged by the current Care Quality Commission ratings for the homes inspected by the regulator i.e. 53 ‘good’, 22 ‘requires improvement’ and 1 inadequate. It is clear there
is still developmental and support work to be undertaken and the Healthwatch report provides valuable insight on this.

“It is worth noting that increasingly people are being supported to live longer in their own homes with the support of their communities, domiciliary care and community services –
which are undoubtedly a cause for celebration. However what this does mean is that those now going into residential care homes and nursing homes may have higher dependency
levels than previously and require more care and support. Therefore commissioners and providers need to work closely together to ensure that care is delivered at the right level and
of a consistent high standard.

“It is noted that some of the information is a little dated – particularly the CQC inspection report outcomes”.

The full report and recommendations can been obtained by visiting Hard copies of the report are available upon request.

All 7 recommendations have been fully endorsed by the Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Sub Committee who thanked Healthwatch Isle of Wight for the report and commended the action taken by Healthwatch to address inconsistencies in quality of care on the Island.

Anyone who wishes to share their experiences (good or bad) of local health and/or care services can do so by ringing 01983 608608 or by emailing [email protected].

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