Healthwatch Camden work on quality standards in care homes starts nationwide conversation with MPs

Healthwatch Camden conducted a series of pre-arranged ‘enter and view’ visits to the seven residential care homes across Camden to ‘field test’ new quality indicators developed by the national older people’s charity, Independent Age. The indicators were designed to fill a gap that exists in the information currently available to people when choosing a care home and compliment the information provided by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).  

Healthwatch Camden published their findings and recommendations on Camden’s care homes in January 2017 (see reports).

Since then, over 2,000 Independent Age campaigners have written to their MPs calling on them to engage with their own local Healthwatch on the quality of care home provision.  Many other local Healthwatch, including in Rotherham, Kent, Torbay and Croydon, are adopting the approach used in Camden to assess quality in the care homes in their areas.

Frances Hasler, Healthwatch Camden Director says: “We’re pleased that our partnership with Independent Age has had both local and national impact. Better and more user-friendly information about quality in residential care homes is urgently needed.

Using the Independent Age Quality Indicators will help to build a more consistent view of care home quality across England and across different local Healthwatch reports, making it easier for people to choose a care home for themselves or their loved ones.”

Read Healthwatch Camden’s seven care home reports at:

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Notes to editors:

For more information and to arrange an interview contact:

Lindi Maqhubela on 020 7383 2402 or email

Or Anna Wright 020 7383 2402 or email,

Independent Age 8 Care Home Quality Indicators: a good care home should……..

  1. Have strong, visible management 
    The manager should be visible within the care home, provide good leadership to staff and have the right experience for the job.

  2. Have staff with time and skills to do their jobs
    Staff should be well-trained, motivated and feel they have the resources to do their job properly.

  3. Have good knowledge of each individual resident and how their needs may be changing
    Staff should be familiar with residents’ histories and preferences and have processes in place for how to monitor any changes in health and wellbeing. 

  4. Offer a varied programme of activities
    Care homes should provide a wide range of activities (and ensure residents can access these) in the home and support residents to take part in activities outside the home.

  5. Offer quality, choice and flexibility around food and mealtimes
    Homes should offer a good range of meal choices and adequate support to help residents who may struggle to eat and drink, including between mealtimes. The social nature of eating should be reflected in how homes organise their dining rooms, and accommodate different preferences around mealtimes.

  6. Ensure residents can regularly see health professionals such as GPs, dentists, opticians or chiropodists
    Residents should have the same expectation to be able to promptly see a health professional as they would have when living in their own home.

  7. Accommodate residents’ personal, cultural and lifestyle needs
    Care homes should be set up to meet residents’ cultural, religious and lifestyle needs as well as their care needs, and shouldn’t make people feel uncomfortable if they are different or do things differently to other residents.

  8. Be an open environment where feedback is actively sought and used
    There should be mechanisms in place for residents and relatives to influence what happens in the home, such as a Residents and Relatives Committee. The process for making comments or complaints should be clear and feedback should be welcomed and acted on.


Independent Age and Healthwatch Camden report: ‘Shining a light on care: helping people make better care home choices:

About the seven Healthwatch Camden home reports

Two Healthwatch volunteer authorised representatives and one member of staff spoke to staff, residents and their relatives using a set of pre-prepared questions which follow the theme of the ten Quality Indicators drawn up by Independent Age (see “Purpose of visit”). The questions were designed to draw out information on the ten key topics and were tailored according to the audience. Authorised representatives made notes on conversations. Visit were agreed in advance and posters displayed to advertise our visit to residents, their relatives and staff. Authorised Representatives wore ID name badges and made sure to gain individuals’ agreement before asking the questions and verbally explain the role of Healthwatch Camden and the purpose of the visit. Discussions were had with providers and they were given opportunity to add context to what was observed and contributed at the time.

About Healthwatch Camden

Healthwatch Camden was formed in April 2013 to give patients, service users, carers and local people a stronger voice to influence and challenge how health and social care services are provided to the people of Camden.

Healthwatch Camden is part of the Healthwatch network. For more information about Healthwatch Camden please visit: