In a world where the elderly are living longer, are their basic needs really covered when it comes to their care?
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) are the main regulators when it comes to social care. They examine care homes, giving vital feedback to help those under par, improve their services.
Last week, it was revealed in the Guardian that one in three care homes has failed CQC inspections; not something you want to read if your loved ones are in care.
Overall, the CQC report highlights how fragile our care services are. Promisingly, the message was that the majority of care was good, but understandably, this seems to have been lost amongst the worrying statistics.
Some are improving. Some aren't. And some are going backwards.
Although these examinations are of great importance, does anyone ask those receiving the care what they think? What the CQC measures, may not be important to those in the system.
Over the past year, Healthwatch have visited over 200 care homes, asking for relatives, residents and staff to share their opinions and aid the debate.
Looking at the initial results, they reported there are no huge scandals. The majority of people are happy with the care they receive, but staff are feeling the pressure.
But looking further, it's the basics that care homes are failing on.
Residents want clean spaces, and to be made to feel at home. They want to choose what to wear in the morning, and eat at a "normal" regular time.
Although the CQC don't examine these basics, these simple gripes are clues to the wider picture. They suggest that if care homes, even the best, asked their residents what they want, they could improve their services dramatically.
Despite this, social care providers are still reluctant to take such feedback on board.
In a recent poll of the 152 local Healthwatches in England, two thirds have reported that health providers are seeking feedback from them. Compare this to the one third of social care providers, and the 25% of providers that do not even respond, and we begin to see an opportunity being missed (The Guardian).
Listening to feedback, and using it to make changes, will help make people feel more valued, and help care homes become just that; homes.