Residential and domiciliary care can be outstanding, and care providers work very hard at meeting the highest standards of care and providing exceptional support to residents. Good providers strive for continuous improvement and opportunities to engage with the people that draw on services and their families so that people live good lives rather than just receiving good care. Some key factors contribute to outstanding care, and it is important that care providers put these at the centre of the work that they do and constantly revisit them to ensure that they are delivering the best life for the person in receipt of their service.
Person-centred approaches are vital and form the basis of any good care. Outstanding care focuses on the individual needs and preferences of each individual, and this involves creating personalised care plans, involving individuals in decision-making, and respecting their choices and autonomy. Well-trained and compassionate staff are essential and should be highly trained, skilled and recruited on values. They should have a deep understanding of the needs of the people they are supporting and be able to provide appropriate care and support. Regular training and development opportunities should be provided to ensure staff members are up-to-date with best practices. There is a real need for a long-term workforce strategy in social care that has clear skills and competencies frameworks and also delivers portable qualifications. If we had this approach, we would certainly have the foundations of better care and more recognition for our wonderful colleagues.
A safe and comfortable environment is an essential part of delivering outstanding residential and community care. This includes maintaining cleanliness, ensuring proper safety measures, and, in the case of residential care, creating a homely atmosphere that promotes well-being. The importance of the physical environment cannot be underestimated, and residential services should strive to make the environment a homely, welcoming and enjoyable place to live.
Outstanding care also understands the importance of giving people things to do and connections with others. Meaningful activities and social engagement are the cornerstones of outstanding residential care, and care homes and community care providers should offer a range of meaningful activities and opportunities for community engagement and social connections. This can include hobbies, outings, group activities, and events that promote social interaction and mental stimulation.
Effective communication and involvement of families are also vital to good care, and regular and open communication with families is crucial for outstanding care. Families should be involved in care planning and decision-making and informed about their loved one’s well-being and any changes in their care.
Quality of life and well-being are essential elements in care. Outstanding care focuses on enhancing the quality of life and overall well-being of people who draw on services. This can be achieved through promoting independence, maintaining physical and mental health, and providing emotional support.
Continuous improvement and feedback are essential features, and an outstanding care provider is committed to continuous improvement. Regular feedback from residents or service users, families, and staff should be sought and used to identify areas for improvement and implement necessary changes.
Compliance with regulations and standards is vitally important, and outstanding care meets all regulatory requirements and adheres to the highest standards of care. This includes maintaining proper documentation, following health and safety guidelines, and ensuring staff are appropriately trained and qualified.
By excelling in these areas, residential care can provide an outstanding level of support and care to residents, ensuring their well-being and enhancing their quality of life.
Professor Martin Green OBE
Chief Executive, Care England