Health in care homes: can we do better?


Dr Adam Gordon is a Consultant and Honorary Associate Professor in Medicine of Older People at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham. He also edits this blog.

Arrangements to provide health care to UK care homes are often inadequate.  In the British Geriatrics Society’s Failing the Frail Report, based on a national survey by the Care Quality Commission, 57% of residents were reported as being unable to access all health care services required. In 2011, a collaboration of health care groups led by the British Geriatrics Society published Quest for Quality, which went so far as to describe existing arrangements as “a betrayal of older people, an infringement of their human rights and unacceptable in a civilised society”.

So, can we do better?

Since 2008, the Medical Crises in Older People (MCOP) research programme at the University of Nottingham has been working to better understand the challenges and opportunities that society faces in providing effective healthcare to care home residents. As this work draws to a close, we are hosting a conference entitled “Health in care homes: can we do better?” in Nottingham on June 14th, 2013.  Details of the conference can be found here.

The conference will present the outputs from two MCOP studies. The first of these, the Care Home Outcome Study, was a detailed longitudinal cohort study describing 227 care residents, their health and functional status, and how they used healthcare resources.  The second, Staff Interviews in Care Homes, was an interview study considering the experiences of care home managers, staff, general practitioners and other community-based healthcare professionals in providing healthcare to residents. Considered together, these studies provide insights into the type of healthcare that might most effectively respond to residents needs and the ways in which existing models of care fall short.

In addition to presenting work from MCOP, the conference will also consider the main challenges in clinical and research work in care homes going forward. Two leading experts in the field, Prof Claire Goodman from the University of Hertfordshire, and Prof Tom Dening from the University of Nottingham will discuss the future direction of research and practice around healthcare in care homes.  A final session will provide opportunities to meet with researchers currently conducting research in care homes, discuss their current and proposed programmes of work, and identify opportunities for participation and collaboration.

We hope that colleagues from the medical profession, nursing, the allied health professions, care homes and research institutions will be able to join us.

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