The Health Social Care Board, at its monthly public meeting today, assured residents that it was firmly committed to the Minister’s position that they would be able to remain in their existing home for as long as they wish and as long as their care needs can continue to be met.
The Health and Social Care Board had been asked by the Minister to lead a consultation to determine criteria to assess the future role and function of statutory residential homes. The post consultation document was approved at the June meeting.
The final criteria will now be used by Trusts to assist decision making about the role and function of statutory residential care homes in the context of planning suitable services for older people in the future.
The Board was also asked by the Minister to consider the admissions positions in relation to statutory residential homes. The Board has now assessed the available options and recommends that Trusts review their individual positions regarding permanent admissions. This will follow Trusts applying the evaluation criteria to their homes and the identification of those homes where significant changes to the service are proposed.
This recommendation is in line with the Minister’s recent indication that Trusts should continue to keep their homes under review, to make plans for changes if these are needed and to make best use of the buildings in meeting the needs of local people.
To provide a clear framework within which Trusts can assess the future role and function of individual statutory residential care homes, the Board today also recommended that Local Commissioning Groups (Committees of the Board) take forward an assessment of local need for older peoples’ services in each locality. This will include consideration of the needs of older people, the availability and range of services in the locality to respond to those needs, any planned developments and the capacity to meet current and emerging needs. This assessment will then help Trusts to develop their proposals for the future role and function of statutory residential homes.
These proposals will then be considered by Local Commissioning Groups and the Board. Proposals will only be approved if they respond appropriately to identified older people’s needs in each locality, if they meet the criteria and if Trusts demonstrate that alternative services are in place or that there are clear plans about how alternative services will be put in place.
Speaking after the meeting Fionnuala McAndrew, Acting Chief Executive with the Board said:
“It is important that Trusts provide the best possible level of care alongside the need to change and modernise their services, if this is required. In our report we have made proposals which have taken account of both of these issues.”
“I want to thank everyone who took the time to take part in this consultation, either through meeting with Board representatives, writing or filling in a consultation form. I would particularly like to thank the residents and their relatives for taking the time to meet with me during visits to the homes.
“I would like to reassure everyone who participated that we have carefully considered their views which were central to producing this report and developing the final criteria. Their involvement was invaluable and will help us all make better decisions for the future needs of our growing and ageing population in Northern Ireland.”
The Board launched the consultation document ‘Making Choices: Meeting the Current and Future Needs of Older People’ on 29th November 2013, inviting residents, their families, staff and the public to respond to proposed criteria to be used as the basis for assessing the future role and function of statutory residential care.
This, the first of a two stage consultation process, ended on 7 March 2014.
The four proposed criteria outlined in the consultation document were; Quality of Care, Availability and Accessibility of Alternatives, Care Trends and Best Value for Money.
Almost 1200 responses to the consultation were received in a variety of forms including; questionnaires; easy read questionnaires, petitions and letters.
Mrs McAndrew continued: “Many of the views expressed by respondents to the consultation were about wider health and social care issues and concerns about how any proposed changes would be managed. Whilst not all respondents were in agreement with the type of change which may result, the majority of respondents did not disagree strongly with the proposed criteria.
“I listened to residents describe the care they receive in the homes, and how their lives have been enriched by living in residential care. They told me that the Quality of Care should be the most important criterion and should be given the highest weighting when assessing homes in the future. This was also reflected strongly in the feedback from other respondents. Respondents also agreed that the Best Use of Public Money should retain the lowest weighting.
“We have listened to these views and amended the weightings of the criteria accordingly in the final report.
“However, I can say that there was a significant emphasis placed on the criteria on Accessibility and Availability of Alternative Services by respondents. We have reflected upon feedback from respondents that they would like to see proposals for their area which set out the current and planned alternatives (and accessibility) to statutory residential care.
Mrs McAndrew concluded: “I recognise that this process has caused anxiety for residents, their families and carers but I hope that the Minister’s statements and our commitment to them will provide the reassurance needed to ensure that any future changes can be managed in a way that does not cause any further concerns.
“There will always be a need for some level of residential care but the changing trends and desires of people must be taken into account too as we plan for the future,” she said.
A copy of the consultation report will be issued to all residents and staff tomorrow 13 June 2014, and thereafter made publicly available to download from the Health and Social Care Board’s website from 4pm at: http://www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult/index.htm
The final criteria approved today by the Board are as follows:
Next Steps and Timeline
Homes affected by this Consultation Report
As of week commencing 9 June 2014, there are 240 current permanent residents in Statutory Residential Care Homes in Northern Ireland.
|Name of home||Location|
|Southern Health and Social Care Trust area|
|South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust area|
|Belfast Health and Social Care Trust area|
|Northern Health and Social Care Trust area|
|Western Health and Social Care Trust area|
*As a result of a major structural problem on a site next to the building, Skeagh House is unlikely to re-open for a long time. Complex legal issues need to be resolved before any extensive construction work.