THE CARE HOME MARKET IN CORNWALL – IN CRISIS?
COLUMN FOR OCTOBER 2019
by Marna Blundy
How much do you know about our residential and nursing homes locally and across the county? Let’s start with some statistics:
- In Cornwall we have 226 care homes registered, offering 5156 beds in total
- Of these beds, 45% are part-funded by Cornwall Council or NHS Kernow for residents who need care but have inadequate funds; and over 50% of the beds are completely self-funded
- Last year, 8 care homes were rated ‘Inadequate’
- 154 residential care beds were de-registered due to the service closing, of which 132 were dementia specialist beds
- 133 nursing beds were de-registered and now provide residential dementia care
- Currently, 10 care homes are assessed as ‘High Risk’ (of financial or quality failure), of which 2 are rated Inadequate; a further 13 homes are assessed as ‘At Risk’
- However, alongside this 144 care homes have been rated ‘Outstanding’ or ‘Good’
There is a rise in the number of care homes closing locally (as well as nationally), which means we have less care home beds available across the county. Care home owners are concerned that they cannot deliver the service on the income they receive. It is increasingly difficult to recruit nurses, and lack of capital investment has resulted in a poor physical environment which impacts on both patients and staff.
In Cornwall, our ageing population is growing faster than the national average: we have a ‘Super-Ageing Population’ – it’s official! Our vacancies are often in residential homes and in settings not registered to deliver complex care. Good homes are closing and owners often can’t sell them as a going concern. We need more nursing home beds and nurses to support the increasingly complex care and support needs of our Cornish population.
All this means that families needing care for their loved ones in Cornwall who have complex needs, notably dementia, are increasingly having to send them out of county, with the resulting heartbreak this causes.
Families having to purchase care are looking at a likely £100,000+ per annum, even if they can find a suitable care home.
We in West Cornwall HealthWatch are deeply concerned about the situation facing the many families who need to find care for their loved ones. We would love to hear from you if you have found the right place and can share a good news story; but we also want to hear about any difficulties you may be facing. We want the BEST care for all our elderly vulnerable residents. The question is: how do we achieve that?