A happy paradox?
By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON
A friend of mine had been looking for a care home in which his elderly mother might like to live. I gave him some tips on what to look for when visiting a prospective facility, told him about CQC ratings and referred him to a care home review website. Last week he told me his mum had moved into a care home he had found, just a 20-minute drive from where he lived. Here’s the gist of our conversation:
Friend: “It’s a bit old, built in the ’60s I imagine but everyone’s very friendly and caring. Mum seems happy; I think she’s accepted that she can’t live at home anymore.”
Me: “And the CQC rating?” (I’d done my own research and knew the answer to this but I was curious to see if my friend had made the effort).
Friend: “It’s rated ‘Good’ but it ‘Required Improvement’ in the safety area. It all looked OK to me; maybe they had had an incident and got marked down for that. I did as you suggested and compared it to an ‘Outstanding’ home, but the nearest one to us is a lot further away, a lot more expensive and anyway, it’s full! It was never going to be an option for us.”
I suspect this is a common scenario and it reinforces my long held conviction that quality ratings awarded by the regulator are a nonsense. The idea of an ‘Outstanding’ rating is particularly illogical; if, as we would all wish, many more care homes achieved an outstanding rating, then they would, by definition, no longer be ‘outstanding’ and CQC would have to raise the bar ever higher.
A happy paradox perhaps, but it does seem to pander to the marketing strategies of the top-end providers who cater for the well-heeled private-pay market. Which is perhaps why quality ratings draw so little criticism from that quarter.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.