As the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care and Minister for Mental Wellbeing and Social Care, we are proud to announce this new healthcare framework, which seeks to strengthen the continuity and increase access to healthcare for people living in care homes.
This framework is a bold and ambitious document which aims to provide information, assurance and direction to all those involved in and affected by the provision of health and care in care homes. This includes people living in care homes and their family and friends, health and social care teams, care home providers and sector leaders across Scotland.
The framework is important for those living in care homes, as well as the wider health and social care system. However, it also plays a critical part as we recover and rebuild from COVID-19. As the sector emerges from the pandemic, it is essential that we learn from these experiences. We must expand the excellent advances in transformational change, integrated working, and relationship-building which have arisen over the last few years. We are also aware of the many good practices and innovation that the care home sector has exhibited and continued to show over the last couple of years against a very difficult background. The number of good practice examples that were collected as part of the development of the framework is testimony to that. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the workforce and wider social care sector for the commitment and hard work it has shown over the course of the pandemic. The professionalism and dedication of staff has been exceptional and we thank you on behalf of the Government and people of Scotland.
The recent Independent Review of Adult Social Care (2021) re-emphasised the importance of professionals working together across the traditional boundaries of health and social care to ensure that people living in care homes receive the same access to healthcare as people living in their own homes. As part of the Care Home Clinical and Professional Advisory Group pandemic response (CPAG), a Clinical Models of Care sub-group of stakeholders from across Health and Social care was established. The ask of the group was to review the current model of healthcare for care homes in Scotland and to set out recommendations for enhanced ways of working in order to fully meet the holistic needs of people living in care homes. As a result, in 2020, the Scottish Government tasked CPAG with developing a healthcare framework for adults living in care homes in Scotland. This was part of the delivery phase for the Adult social care - winter preparedness plan: 2021-22.
It is also part of a wider approach to improving the national healthcare model by seeking to fully integrate the Health and Social care system in Scotland. It is a pivotal building block in improving outcomes as we move towards the establishment of the National Care Service (NCS). Importantly, it also strongly aligns with other key Government policies, including; our development of a Health and Social Care Strategy for Older People; the framework for community health and social care integrated services; the health and social care standards; Promoting Excellence 2021 (Dementia framework); the Preventative and Proactive Programme Charter; the Rehabilitation Framework; A Fairer Scotland for Older People framework; the transformation of Primary Care; and, our commitment and approach to a new national strategy for palliative and end of life care.
Following a period of extensive engagement, this framework has been produced in collaboration with those living and working in the health and social care sector. From this engagement, responses included; there is a strong need for everyone in the sector to work together in a supportive way to enable better health outcomes for individuals living in care homes; the importance of informed decision-making; good communication; that healthcare should be more than medicine.
We wish to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to those who took part in the engagement events. Your frank, open and honest views have been invaluable, and helped to develop this framework. Some examples of your feedback can be read in quotes throughout this document.
To address the comments reflected, this new and transformative framework sets out a series of recommendations to improve the outcomes for people living in care homes. It has a strong focus on multidisciplinary team (MDT) working, with a need to place the person living in the care home at the centre of the MDT. It is important that the individual is integral to this and they should be able to make an informed decision on their own care, which should be supported by a MDT. To enable this, there should be regular meetings and good communication between those professionals providing constant and regular input and the person living in the care home. It aims to meet the needs of all people living in care homes by enhancing not only their health, but also their wellbeing. By working in a collaborative and coordinated way, we can enhance the health and wellbeing of those living in care homes, and therefore, improve outcomes.
As we move forward to implement these recommendations, we will continue to be committed to supporting this work and expect the same commitment from all partners. We must be ambitious and bold in our aspirations to transform the healthcare that people living in care homes receive. True multi-disciplinary and multi-agency working must commence now, with people living in care homes, their families and carers firmly at the centre of what we do.
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