An online guide has been launched to help professionals who need to manage a care home closure at short notice.

The guide, written by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) in conjunction with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), pulls together current learning and available tools on the issue. It provides good practice on how to cope with the closure process and how to reduce any negative impact on residents. For example, SCIE and ADASS say that people who live in care homes need continuity in their care and support, regardless of who provides it and where it's provided. They also say that residents' voices need to be heard and that they need to be involved in decisions that affect them.

The online tool is aimed primarily at local authority and other statutory commissioners but others, including residents and relatives concerned about a possible closure, or providers and their staff, should also find it useful. Under each topic there are sections setting out the implications for practice, ideas from the practice of others to consider, and a summary of what policy and research says. 

There are a selection of procedures, checklists and templates from around the country. There are various sections:

  • How to provide continuity of care
  • Assessment and choice
  • Intelligence and information sharing
  • Resource implications
  • Legal issues
  • How to communicate an announcement.

SCIE's director of adult services David Walden, said: "When people are confronted with news that a care home is to close, it is a difficult time for all concerned. This online guide supports commissioners and providers to prepare for these difficult times." ADASS president Peter Hay added: "While we hope that the current period of market uncertainty settles, local circumstances may mean that closures could happen at any time, given illness, emergencies and potential enforcement action from the regulator when quality slips below essential standards. Commissioners and providers need to be equipped to deal with it if and when it happens. So this online tool offers practical tools and guidance to manage closures at short notice."