Promoting good practice guidance in closing care homes for older people

Lead investigator(s): Professor Jon Glasby


In 2007 the School of Social Policy was commissioned by Birmingham City Council to undertake research in support of their modernisation of older people's services which included the closure of all local authority care homes for older people, reassessing and resettling all current service users.

Research objectives

This research into what is believed to be one of the largest care home closures programmes in Europe had three key impacts, in terms of:

  • Helping to design the initial closure process at local level.
  • Evaluating outcomes of the subsequent closures to ensure that local policy and practice were safe (for frail older people in potentially very vulnerable situations).
  • Producing national guidance for all English Councils on managing care home closures and contributing to local/national planning and a change in public opinion regarding care home closure in the wake of the Southern Cross scandal.

Research output

An initial literature review found that there was very little empirical evidence on the process or impact of care home closures and that there were few, if any, reliable benchmarks against which to evaluate the Council's closure programme. The Council therefore modelled its approach on the more general good practice and key themes identified by the reviewers.

Following publication and dissemination of an evaluation report researchers at HSMC produced a national guide to best practice when supporting older people during residential care closures.

Research impact

The research contributed to the design of effective local policies and procedures, helped to ensure that local practice was safe for frail older people and contributed to national policy, public and media debates about care home closures in the wake of the Southern Cross scandal.

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