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The Importance of Care Homes Within the Healthcare Industry

21st Oct, 2019

The Importance of Care Homes Within the Healthcare Industry
 
The existence of care homes within the healthcare industry is crucial, particularly with Britain’s ageing population life expectancy growing. Whilst care homes support a large amount of the 11,989,932 senior citizens aged 65 and above living in the UK, according to the Office for National Statics (ONS) 2019, we’re here to understand the why, how and what. Why are care homes imperative to the industry, how have care homes changed throughout the years and what does their future hold.
 
Let’s look.
 
Brief History
  • The concept of “care homes” was initially introduced in the 17th century but were known as poorhouses.
  • The 1930's became a revolutionary period for poorhouses. Once the living conditions in these common grounds became known to the public, their perspective on poorhouses changed. They became replaced by "Board-and-Care homes", also known as convalescent homes, where a basic level of care and meals were provided for a specific fee in a private setting.
  • By World War 2, the new wave of nursing homes, "Board-and-Care" homes became a success. As time went on, the government noticed many patients spending a significant amount of time in hospitals in short-term settings. To combat this, Board-and care homes slowly began to convert into public and permanent spaces that became government funded.
  • By 1965, nursing homes became known to provide senior and disabled citizens permanent residence, daily meals and the necessary medical care they needed.
  • Between 1950 and 1970, the dynamics within nursing homes drastically changed. The 1965 amendment laws enforced nursing homes to comply by having registered nurses on duty.
  • In 1987, nursing homes started to specialise in different levels of care through the release of the Nursing Reform Act. These new areas of speciality were later added onto the Residents' Bill of Rights.
  • In 2002, nursing homes and residential care homes finally became differentiated due to the level of care and support they provided. Residential care homes became known as care homes, and nursing homes were care homes with nursing services.
Care Homes in the UK 
 
While all care homes offer accommodation and a level of personal care, residents with higher needs require further assistance, which is why different types of care homes exist.
  • Convalescent care
  • Dementia care
  • Disability care
  • Palliative care
The importance care homes have within healthcare is found in the support they provide to the individual’s needs, functionality and wellbeing. From social activities with other residents to 24-hours support from care staff, care homes offer critical and non-critical condition individuals a safe place to live, relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life with dignity.
 
The variety of care homes also reduces pressure on local hospitals, GP’s and emergency centres. 
 
Impact of Care Homes in the UK
 
Not only do care homes provide a positive health influence on all senior residents, they directly impact on and improve a range of social factors such as:
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Mental health and wellbeing
  • Lifestyle
  • Physical activity
  • Life expectancy
  • Housing
By addressing social issues, senior citizens are less likely to experience loneliness and isolation, mental health issues and limited physical activity.
 
The Importance our Nurses Have in Care Homes
 
Improving the quality of life of critical senior residents requires a level of care found in nursing homes.  The level of care provided by nurses extends to:
  • Cognitive impairment conditions
  • Co-morbidity
  • Polypharmacy, 
  • Musculoskeletal problems 
  • Dementia
  • Stroke related 
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Palliative care
For these reasons alone, nurses in our care homes have the responsibility of facilitating the day-to-day care of each citizen, provide emotional support and improve their quality of life. For those with greater needs, they work round the clock.
 
Recognised Care Homes
 
Care homes and care home groups are now recognised and awarded for their quality of nursing, support, facilities, excellence of service and level of care they provide. 
 
Care Home 2019 Awards highlight the top 20 care homes, and care home groups within the UK. You can view the top 20 winners here
 
Conclusion
 
Care homes strengthen the healthcare industry by providing specialised care to non-critical and critical residents, act as an emotional and physical support system to senior citizens and improve their quality of life.
 
Work in a Care Home
 
If you’re a support worker, healthcare assistant or a clinical support worker looking for a job, click here and you’ll be re-directed to our Care Homes Professions page, where we currently have 158 active roles.