During 2014 we undertook a review of dementia services in the Clapham Park area of SW41. Two extra care housing facilities were involved in the review and the visiting team found a wide variation in the experiences of tenants. Consequently, we decided to visit all extra care housing facilities in the borough. We are interested in whether this type of service improves and maintains people’s independence, safety and quality of life, and in particular, whether these settings decrease social isolation and loneliness. During our visit, 17 tenants gave feedback in a group discussion facilitated by the Enter and View team. Six of these individuals and one other tenant gave us additional feedback in one-to-one conversations. In addition, questionnaires were distributed to staff and relatives: seven members of staff returned a questionnaire and five were received from family contacts. An in depth interview was also held with the manager.
The external environment: is pleasant with trees and shrubs in the small strip of garden that surrounds the building. The overall look is attractive. At the rear of the building there is a large enclosed and landscaped communal garden with several seating areas.
Quality of care: There was a general consensus from tenants that they are satisfied with the services at Hillyard House. Another said ‘I have become accustomed to it here’.
Transport: Someone else told us she likes living here because the public transport is so good, as the bus stops right outside.
We made a series of recommendations:
- Consideration should be given to ways to enhance the hallway to encourage tenants to use the communal space to sit, chat and engage with passers-by.
- Signs should be raised to 4ft and toilet doors could be identified by a picture graphic as well as words, in line with PLACE guidance.
- Sanctuary should discuss with Lambeth Council Adult Services a way to resolve unnecessary delays to the reassessment of tenants’ care needs. Where delays occur, a written record of the reasons and length of the delay should be recorded and made available to the tenant.
The visiting team found that tenants and most of their relatives believe that people living at Hillyard House are safe and appear satisfied with the care they receive. Hillyard House appears to be well managed, with the built environment and the care we observed generally of good quality. However, we are concerned that the overall delivery of care services to tenants can be impacted by unaccountable delays in needs assessment processes. Where residents’ needs change, there does not appear to be any accountability to service users, their families or the care provider on how long they have to wait before a decision is made about a resident’s changed circumstances.