What if care homes were no longer like a home, and more like a community with shops, salons, and cinemas? This could very well be the future for British care.
As reported in the Guardian, Paul Burstow, the chairman of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE)wrote a report identifying what the government, Care Quality Commision (CQC), investors and providers need to do to change the current structure of our care homes.
Whilst researching for this report, Mr Burstow travelled to the Netherlands and visited a gated village called “De Hogeweyk”. This village is designed for people with dementia.
Mr Burstow reported that nobody wore a uniform, all staff are trained in hospitality, and the village is designed to mimic an actual village with shops, bars and homes.
WCS Care (WCS) has taken this approach, and is now running 12 homes, soon to be 13. The aim here is to encourage them to lead a “normal” life; going shopping, washing up, cooking, setting the table etc.
Their newest home has six households, each with fourteen residents, and their own kitchen. Their meals are laid out in their kitchens, and they’re encouraged to make their choice themselves.
In WCS, everything is run as close to the outside world as possible. The laundrette for example has staff, and they deal with the “customers”, allowing them to do as much or as little as they wish. They also have a Doctor’s surgery, and a dentist, all with waiting rooms and receptionists.
They also believe in residents spending as much time outside as possible and have built in cycle tracks, hairdressers, and cinemas.
These homes are designed around the philosophy that everything is driven by the residents. They only do what they want to do, which ensures they continue enjoying life?
Not only have WCS seemingly improved the quality of care, they’re also overhauling the technology surrounding caring for residents. They’ve introduced overnight acoustic monitoring which monitor the sounds residents make when they sleep. This helps staff assess whether they need to assist the resident, reducing the number of nightly checks, therefore reducing the disturbance for the residents.
This monitoring also offers peace of mind for family members as their loved one is monitored constantly.
This technology has already reduced the number of falls during the night, in one home by 30% as staff can instantly hear when a resident is moving around.
Similarly, using this technology helped staff recognise residents that were struggling to sleep. To change this, instead of ushering them back to bed, they formed a club; chatting, playing games, having their hair styled etc. Over a short space of time, their body clocks adjusted and they were able to sleep.
Due to their nature of keeping the residents quality of life at the forefront of everything, WCS have already received six outstanding CQC assessments.
So can we take their model, their aspirational and innovative model, and make it a reality for the future of British care?