Wales politics

Elderly care home review responses 'disappointing'

Nurse gives elderly woman a drink Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Some organisations have been praised for setting out plans to improve life in care homes

Care inspectors and ministers have been criticised for failing to explain in detail how they will improve life for elderly people in care homes.

Older People's Commissioner Sarah Rochira said she was "disappointed" with their responses to a 2014 review.

It found elderly residents "quickly become institutionalised" in homes seen as places of "irreversible decline".

The Welsh government said it was taking "strong action" with new laws to improve the regulation of care homes.

Ms Rochira's report in November followed unannounced visits by experts to 100 care homes, and more than 2,000 questionnaires completed by care home residents and their families.

All public bodies involved in the sector were asked to submit action plans setting out how they would ensure improvements in residents' lives.

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Media captionSarah Rochira speaks to BBC Radio Wales

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

"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."

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Media captionCSSIW chief inspector Imelda Richardson says there is a 'better quality' of care now

The Welsh government said it continued to take "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.

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