THE quality of care homes has come under the spotlight after council bosses released a table grading homes across Hartlepool.
Hartlepool Borough Council has introduced a quality standards framework (QSF) to allow the authority to assess the quality of care provided in older people’s care homes and to link that to the fees paid to providers.
Officers say this is an “important development” to allow people and their families to make informed choices about care homes as the Care Quality Commission no longer publish ratings.
It is also aimed at helping to drive up standards.
Six sites in town received the top grade but no care home fell within the lowest banding of grade four.
Care homes are graded based on a number of areas including personalised care, treatment and support, safeguarding and safety, suitability of staff and management and the environment of the care home such as room size, communal space and en-suite facilities.
The process starts with a self-assessment, followed by a visit and then a report.
Grade one is the highest and grade four the lowest and the grades link directly to the fee level paid for the care and support of each resident financially supported by the council.
For grade one, a weekly fee of £458 is paid for older people, compared to £390 for grade four care homes.
Out of the 21 care homes in Hartlepool, six achieved the top grade, 12 rated as grade two and three rated as grade three.
Jill Harrison, assistant director of adult social care, said: “The vast majority are in the top two grades, which is very positive.”
Mrs Harrison added that regular meetings are held with all providers to look at areas of best practice.
A report by Brian Ayre, the council’s commissioned services manager, said: “Officers have held meetings with the managers of each of the homes to clarify how the judgments were arrived at and to discuss the areas requiring improvement.
“Following this, managers were required to develop a detailed action plan to show how the improvements would be made.”
As part of the current assessment Hartlepool HealthWatch volunteers are carrying out the consultation with residents and the assessments will be repeated on an annual basis.
Putting Hartlepool First group leader Alison Lilley said: “We should really show our appreciation for the HealthWatch volunteers and recognise the wonderful job they do.”
The results of this year’s assessment will be available in September and will determine the gradings and fee levels for the year October 2013 to September 2014.
l A CARE home is to open its doors this week to give the community a chance to see what services it offers.
Warrior Park care home, in Queen Street, Seaton Carew, is hosting the open day on Friday, June 21, between 10am and 3pm to give local residents the chance to look at the facilities available.
Everyone is welcome to attend and refreshments will be served.
Laura Tomkins, the home’s personal activity leader, said: “Similar open days are taking place at care homes around the country.
“It is hoped that it will help create lasting links between care home residents and our local communities.”
Care Home Grade
Brierton Lodge 1
Four Winds 1
Queens Meadow 1
Sheraton Court 1
Stichell House 1
Admiral Court 2
Clifton House 2
Elwick Grange 2
Gardner House 2
Gretton Court 2
Highnam Hall 2
Manor Park 2
Seaton Hall 2
West View Lodge 2
Wynyard Woods 2
Dinsdale Lodge 3
Warrior Park 3