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The UK Health Minister Jacqui Smith today launched comprehensive national minimum standards for care homes and treatment centres that reflect the views and needs of those who use the services. The standards are for care homes accommodating adults aged under 65 and adult placements. These are underpinned by regulations also launched today.
The standards demonstrate why it is important and necessary to carry out a consultation. The Government has made some significant changes to ensure that the final standards have taken into consideration a range of views that came from service users, their carers and service providers.
The standards - most of which is come into force in April 2002 - are designed to improve the care of thousands of young people with, for example, learning or physical disabilities, drug and alcohol problems or HIV/AIDS.
The main changes address the fact that treatment centres accommodate people for relatively short periods of time and the standards aimed at making the environment in care homes more like a family home are not appropriate for the sector offering shorter term accommodation. This particularly refers to the requirement to offer single rooms to all residents when in fact residents often prefer to share with a 'buddy' who can help to discourage self-harm and a return to abuse.
The new standards will be implemented by the National Care Standards Commission and fall into eight basic categories:
- Choice of home - covering the information that prospective residents should get, the assessment of their needs and their contract with the care home.
- Individual needs and choices - covering service users' individual care plans, and giving them a say in decisions about their own lives.
- Lifestyle - making sure that service users' needs for personal development are addressed and dealing with leisure, social inclusion and relationships.
- Personal and healthcare support - making sure that service users get the personal, nursing and health care they need.
- Concerns, complaints and protection - strengthening service users' protection from abuse or neglect.
- Environment - keeping service users' accommodation comfortable, safe and suited to their needs.
- Staffing - making sure that care home staff are properly recruited, qualified and supervised.
- Conduct and management of the home - making sure that managers are also qualified and capable, and that homes are run efficiently and safely.
The standards complement those for older people's care homes that were published in March.
MEDICA.de; Source: Department of Health