Column: We’re stressing over adult social care

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Ask anyone what they consider to be one of the most stressful events in life and they may well say: moving house, exam results and getting married. I’m sure there are many more that can also raise our blood pressure.

But a new survey carried out for Government health and care ‘watchdog’, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has uncovered a surprising new one.

It seems that choosing adult social care is one of the biggest sources of stress, according to the 1,000 people who took part in the survey. Just over half (54%) of those who responded from our Yorkshire and the Humber region said choosing a care home was their most stressful life decision. When asked what had been the greatest influence on their choice of care home, nearly 3/4 said seeing the place for themselves was the biggest factor.

44 per cent of respondents said that quality of care, based on its CQC rating and latest inspection report, influenced their decision most. Similarly, 76 per cent of those who knew the CQC rating for their care home said this made them feel more confident they were making the right decision.

The care home’s ability to meet individual needs and its general ‘feel’ were the most important factors when people made their choice (24 and 17 per cent respectively), more so than its closeness to family and friends (7 per cent) and cost (4 per cent).

The findings come as the CQC launches a new campaign to raise public awareness of how its inspection findings can help people to make these important decisions. Through its role as a regulator of care quality, the CQC wants you to be aware that if you are choosing home care or a care home, it has lots of free resources to help you.

It wants more people to download the independent reports of its inspectors to compare options before considering a particular care home. CQC staff inspect both residential and nursing care homes in Doncaster. Each inspection seeks to answer five key questions about the service provided: is it safe? is it effective? is it well led? is it caring? and is it responsive to people’s needs?

Depending on the results, inspectors award one of four overall ratings – Inadequate, Requires Improvement, Good, or Outstanding.

I’m sure that choosing care can be a real worry for Doncaster people, families and carers, but the CQC can help you through what can a be a difficult time. You need to know about the quality of the local care services that are available and you also need to be confident that, if there are any problems, that they are being identified and resolved. The inspection reports the CQC regularly publish give you access to clear, independent information you can trust.