Limited and infrequent personal engagement between British adults and care homes may lie at the heart of uncertainty and misunderstanding about care homes and the care sector.
A ComRes poll (sample of 2,006 GB adults) commissioned by the National Care Home Open Day committee shows that those with first hand experiences of residential care homes have a more positive view of the sector and are more likely to show an interest in volunteering to help out with activities for those in residential care (41%) compared to the general public (28%).
To tackle the gulf between reality and perceptions, care homes are rallying behind National Care Home Open Day, and so far nearly 3,000 across the UK have signed up to take part. They will be welcoming their local communities to visit and experience the range of care services on offer, and to meet with residents and staff. The day also seeks to encourage people to volunteer in their local care home and to encourage people to consider a career in social care.
Homes across the UK, as well as homes in Australia and South Africa, will be joining in to take part in the world’s largest virtual Mexican wave. Residents and staff will be taking photographs and videos of their home performing the wave, before these are then uploaded to Twitter, providing a virtual ripple, as the wave begins on Friday morning on the south coast and finishes in the afternoon in the Scottish Highlands.
All MPs have been challenged to visit every care home in their constituency as part of the day.
Gloria Hunniford, National Care Home Open Day Ambassador, said:
“With only a quarter of people visiting a care home in the last year, the perceptions that most people have of care homes are not based on personal experiences, but instead on old stereotypes and on media coverage when things go wrong. Such misperceptions are damaging to the care sector and do a dis-service to the large number of devoted carers working in the residential care sector.
“Before I took part in the BBC documentary ‘When I’m 65’, I had little idea what was involved in providing care and support in a home, and I imagine this is the same for most people who haven’t visited a care home.”
“To challenge these misperceptions we need to encourage the public to engage more with their local care home. The intention of National Care Home Open Day is to strengthen the relationships between care home residents, staff and their neighbours. It may even encourage a few people to think about volunteering to do something during the rest of the year to support and befriend residents in local care homes.”
- Only 25% of British adults have visited a care home in the past 12 months
- Only a quarter (28%) of Britons would be interested in volunteering at a care home
- Among British adults who have visited a care home in the last year, the proportion increases to 41% saying that they would be interested in volunteering to help out with activities for residents
- Three quarters (76%) of British adults who have visited a care home in the last year agree that working in a care home can be a rewarding and fulfilling career