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11th August 2015

Older People's Commissioner 'disappointed' at lack of detail over improvements to residential care

The Older People's Commissioner for Wales has said she is "disappointed" with Welsh Government ministers and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales for failing to provide enough detail on how they will improve life for elderly people in care homes.

Her comments follow on from her 2014 Residential Care Review, A Place To Call Home?, in November 2014 which found that elderly residents "quickly become institutionalised" in homes seen as places of "irreversible decline". All public bodies involved in the sector were asked to submit action plans setting out how they would ensure improvements in residents' lives.

Read more on Ms Rochira's comments – BBC news: Elderly care home review responses 'disappointing'

The Welsh government said it was taking "strong action" in relation to the care of older people, citing "significant new legislation" on regulation of the care sector. "We have also set up a Care Homes Steering Group to provide leadership and ensure action is taken to improve care and support for older people," a spokesperson added.

Imelda Richardson, chief inspector for Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales, said it completed thousands of inspections a year to ensure people receiving care in Wales were safe and last year it saw a 64% reduction in the number of services considered to be of concern. "We want to re-assure the public that we are an effective inspectorate and regulator - we always put the quality of the care that people receive at the heart of our work," she said.

Praise for health boards and local councils' 'strong commitment' to improve quality of life

Ms Rochira, pictured below, has praised health boards and local councils for their "strong commitments" to improve quality of life but was critical of the Welsh government and the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).

She said: "All of the bodies subject to my Review strongly welcomed its findings and I am pleased that many public bodies across Wales who have an essential role to play in driving change within our care home system have given strong commitments to take the action necessary to improve the quality of life of older people living in care homes across Wales. This is a significant and positive step forward.

"In my review I made very clear the impact of not taking action and the price that is paid by older people when public bodies fail to uphold people's rights and protect them," she said.

"I am therefore extremely disappointed that the responses from the Welsh government and CSSIW in many instances failed to provide adequate detail or acknowledge the change that needs to take place to assure me that action will be taken that will deliver real and positive improvements for older people living in care homes."

Read Ms Rochira's comments in full on the Older People's Commissioner's website

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