Funding boost for elderly care

The government has announced new funds to improve elderly care homes.

Around 7,000 care homes will benefit from a £67 million cash boost, announced today by the Department of Health (DoH).

The money will be used to upgrade care homes as part of the government’s Dignity in Care campaign, designed to improve the quality of life and dignity of the UK’s care home residents.

Care services minister Ivan Lewis said: “Throughout the department’s Dignity in Care campaign I have heard how much dignity matters. I know how important it is for people living in care homes to have an environment they are happy in and that they are proud to call home.

“By distributing this funding to almost 7,000 care homes throughout England we are able to improve the lives of tens of thousands of people and their families.

“This supports the excellent work of health and social care professionals, the voluntary and independent sectors and carers – both family and paid – who work passionately together every day to continually improve the lives of older people.”

The money will be used to improve the basic fabric of the nation’s care homes.

Suggested projects include: replacing worn-out carpeting and floor coverings to reduce the risk of falls; upgrading dining rooms and private bedrooms and bathrooms; improve gardens and outside spaces to encourage exercise; carry out improvements to increase privacy; and promote information technology including internet and email.

Help the Aged welcomed the funding as proof the government recognises the role of dignity in care homes in maintaining health and wellbeing.

Annie Stevenson, senior policy adviser at Help the Aged, said: “We are glad to see that this money will be spent with due consideration of the views of care home residents and best practice in design.

She added: “However, improving the physical environment is only one piece of the jigsaw that delivers dignity and respect for the care of older people.

“It is just as crucial to recognise that investment in the care home sector workforce is also vital to lift its status and to improve morale and potential to meet future needs. Without this, the dignity agenda in this area will wither on the vine.”