Better partnership between care homes and the NHS : Findings from the My Home Life programme
Partnership between healthcare and social services agencies has been a major theme of government policy for the last ten years and the potential for care homes to contribute significantly to health and social care planning and provision is growing. Yet, despite this, partnership working and access to basic levels of NHS support for care home residents can often be very limited. My Home Life (www.myhomelife.org.uk), a new UK programme led by Help the Aged, National Care Forum and City University, aims to improve the quality of life for those living, dying, visiting and working in care homes for older people. The programme has identified the need for improved access to health and healthcare as crucial in optimising the quality of life of older people in care homes. This paper explores the current difficulties that face care homes in accessing healthcare services and examines the potential for better partnership working between care homes and the NHS as a means of delivering better access to healthcare for residents. The paper draws on the learning from a joint event hosted by the Care Services Improvement Partnership and My Home Life programme in collaboration with the Care Homes Learning Network (South West), which brought together a range of stakeholders from the NHS, social services, academic institutions and the care homes sector to discuss how best to improve partnership working.