In a recent article in the Guardian newspaper Social Policy's Jon Glasby comments on the closure of care homes. The issue of care homes closing has been around since the community care reforms of the 1990s.
As Jon Glasby, head of school of social policy at Birmingham University , says: “Ever since we’ve had a market for care home places, homes have closed and have opened and local authorities have had to try and manage and plan that process as best they can."
In 2008, Birmingham city council decided to close all its local authority-owned homes in one of the biggest programmes of care home closures undertaken in the UK. As this was a planned series of closures the council arranged for Glasby and other academics to conduct a study of residents’ and family members’ experiences (pdf).
Perhaps contrary to expectations, they found that 77% of those using services (which also included those using day centres) said life had either got better or stayed the same since the move or change. Glasby says the researchers concluded that if care home closures are managed well – “and that’s quite a big if” – residents’ health and wellbeing needn’t be negatively affected, and can even be improved.