Carer having conversation with elderly woman

Improving the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes

James Hourihan, Author

Nursing homes serve a crucial function in our society by offering essential care to elderly and disabled individuals who require assistance in their day-to-day lives. Currently, there are an estimated 285,860 people in the UK living in residential or nursing homes that have dementia or severe memory problems. 

However, recent reports have shed light on the pressing need for improvement, particularly considering the projected doubling of the ageing population by 2041. The sector faces a myriad of challenges, including understaffing, high labour costs, stringent regulations, and the scarcity of qualified personnel. Unfortunately, these often result in poor quality of care, heightened health and safety risks, decreased job satisfaction, and an inability to meet the diverse needs of residents.

Navigating these issues can make it exceedingly difficult for social care workers and nursing home managers to strike a balance between meeting the unique demands of each individual, and upholding an exceptional standard of living. It necessitates a multifaceted ethical-based approach that focuses on improving outcomes, enhancing communication, and creating a safe and supportive environment. 

To get started, here are five actionable strategies that can help improve the quality of care in nursing homes. 

Ensure Adequate Staffing and Training

One of the key factors in delivering quality care is ensuring adequate staffing levels. Nursing homes must prioritise recruiting and retaining proficient and compassionate care workers to reduce burnout, lower turnover rates, and help save financial resources. Additionally, comprehensive positive behaviour management training programmes equip staff with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively support people in their care using the least restrictive interventions. Ongoing development opportunities should also be provided to ensure continuous improvement.

Implement Quality Assurance

Regulatory bodies like the Care Quality Commission are vital in monitoring the quality of care in nursing homes. However, nursing homes should also implement their own robust quality assurance systems. Regular audits, assessments of medication administration, documentation, resident feedback mechanisms, and surveys can provide valuable insights into areas for improvement. This process will help prevent errors and ensure that all nursing home policies are adhered to, leading to higher standards of care for residents and better conditions.

Promote Person-Centred Care

Adopting a person-centred care approach is crucial to addressing residents’ personal preferences and needs. It entails a deep understanding of their histories, interests, behaviours, and values, which can be achieved through effective communication and relationship-building. By adopting this approach, care professionals are able to promote a sense of dignity, autonomy, and respect. For instance, actively involving residents in decisions pertaining to their medical or dietary requirements fosters a sense of control and familiarity within their living space.

Enhancing Social Engagement

Social interaction and meaningful activities are vital for the emotional well-being of nursing home residents. By offering a diverse range of social programs, recreational activities such as arts and crafts, games, movies, and organised outings tailored to residents’ specific interests and abilities, nursing homes can foster a vibrant and inclusive community where individuals can experience joy and fulfilment, thereby enhancing their overall quality of life and preventing isolation.

Foster Collaboration and Family Involvement

The role of family members is critical in ensuring quality care in nursing homes. They should be actively involved in the care planning process and kept informed about their loved one’s well-being. Regular meetings can foster transparency and enable meaningful discussions on any concerns or updates to guarantee the resident’s best interests are always prioritised.

By following these steps, you can provide superior quality care and raise your facility’s level of satisfaction amongst all stakeholders involved, from residents to family members and beyond.

Get In Touch 

If you work in a care setting, Timian is your trusted partner here to provide valuable support. As an organisation, we deeply understand the essence of your work, and are committed to delivering RRN Approved & BILD ACT certified positive behaviour management courses designed to empower staff in managing challenging behaviours.

For more information, reach out to us by calling 0800 987 4075, or visit our website and fill out the form available here. Our dedicated and friendly team will be delighted to assist you with any queries or requests you may have. 

James Hourihan MSc Econ | FRSA | MIOD


Timian Learning and Development 

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