The need for high-quality elderly care in the UK is greater than ever before given an increasing aging population. A study from the Office of National Statistics predicts that the number of people aged 85 or over is likely to treble by 2066, suggesting that this issue will become even more prevalent in the future.
People are demanding more in caring for the elderly, good care is now more than just caring and accommodation, with everything from outdoor commutes to social interactions playing an integral role in a resident’s quality of life.
With this in mind, Lottie.org conducted a study to find out the best and worst places for elderly care in the UK. Looking at key metrics like care home quality alongside other significant factors such as local restaurant quality, local park access, and proximity to the closest hospital, we gave each major city in the UK an average score out of ten to determine the best and worst places for elderly care in the UK.
• Research was carried out to discover which are the best care homes in the UK and which city treats its elderly overall the best. • CQC’s care home directory data was used to create a seed list of locations to use for analysis. • Reviews for care homes were converted to numerical values:
Outstanding: 10 Good: 8 Requires improvement: 6 Inadequate: 2
Major cities with best elderly care
Durham was found to be the major city that offered the best elderly care, with an overall score of 8.8 out of 10. This score was primarily achieved by an excellent care home review score of 9.39 and similarly high scores for hospital proximity and restaurant quality.
Swindon was the highest placed southern city on the list, ranking second thanks to its stellar scores for care home reviews, park access, and hospital proximity. Despite the high overall rating of 8.7, the Wiltshire town’s poor restaurant-quality score of 3.88 prevented it from topping our list.
In third place was Doncaster, which had its overall score significantly bolstered by 9.8 ratings for park access and hospital proximity. While the city in South Yorkshire obtained solid scores in most categories, its care home review score of 6.94 prevented it from ranking even higher on our list.
An average care home rating of 6.33 did not prevent Colchester from ranking in fourth place. With excellent scores for hospital proximity and park access, the Essex town achieved an overall score of 8.26.
Major cities with best worst elderly care
Bradford was found to be the place with the worst elderly care amongst the UK’s major cities. With a worrying overall score of 1.62 out of 10, this West Yorkshire city’s ranking is largely attributable to its shocking care home review rating of 0.2 and poor hospital proximity score of 0.82.
The North-Eastern town of Stockton-on-Tees was second on our list, thanks to its alarming score of 1.22 for average care home ratings. As with Bradford, Stockton achieved poor ratings in most categories but was saved from bottom place thanks to a slightly improved hospital proximity score of 4.29.
Unlike its Hampshire neighbour Southampton, Portsmouth was found to be among the poorest places for elderly care. With concerning scores in the categories of care home rating and hospital proximity, the south coast city received a lowly rating of 2.42, which ranked it as the third-lowest place on our list.
The fourth worst major city for elderly care was Dudley, with its frightening care home review score of 0 resulting in a 2.44 rating. Salford was found to be the fifth-worst place for elderly care, with poor park access and hospital proximity ratings resulting in an overall score of 2.76.
The survey carried out by Lottie raises more questions than answers. The methodology used may help those seeking a care home for their loved ones, but some of the metrics used would put some care homes at a disadvantage. The methodology does not take into account the lack of control managers have over significant factors, local restaurant quality, local park access, and proximity to the closest hospital? They have no choice but to work in the locality where the home is located.
I do not wish to decry the achievement of Durham who came top in this survey, but I do question the significant factors used as part of the methodology. More meaningful metrics would be the quality of care and social and educational experiences provided for residents.
Albert Cook BA, MA & Fellow Charted Quality Institute Managing Director Bettal Quality Consultancy