patients and their families could gain a vital insight into care homes with the launch of the first-ever online ratings.
Senior NHS manager Emma Challans, who works at Doncaster Royal Infirmary, has devised the Care Home Advisor website which will be available later this month.
Every care home in the UK will be rated on the site by care home residents and their families.
Ms Challans, who is the general manager of Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s orthopaedics and trauma clinical service unit, has developed the website with colleagues in her own time after seeing at first hand the needs of patients leaving hospital or arriving from a care home.
She said that it would offer people a way to communicate and share experiences of care home providers.
“I and my co-developer have both experienced the challenges, difficulties and importance of selecting the right care home, in the right place, at the right time,” she said.
“Quality and safety are paramount when selecting a care home. Every day, care homes across the country are failing to achieve core quality standards in the delivery of safe, effective care.
“We see Care Home Advisor as a catalyst to help improve standards and quality in care homes, ensuring dignity, respect and overall good, safe clinical care.
“We aim to give carers, relatives and the public access to independently-rated care home providers that will help them make the important decisions of which care home is right for their friend or family member.”
Standards at care homes have come under growing scrutiny in recent times. Concerns have been heightened following the scandal at the Winterbourne View in Bristol which closed last year over allegations of abuse by staff on vulnerable residents with learning difficulties.
The problems, exposed by a whistleblower, prompted criticism of the Care Quality Commission which is the main regulator in the field but had failed to follow up warnings.
Inspectors from the commission have launched a major programme of checks at care homes, which have exposed further failings.
Difficulties facing care homes have been exacerbated by financial strain in the sector which contributed to the collapse of the Southern Cross group last year amid complaints council cuts mean fees are failing to keep pace with costs.
The website at www.carehomeadvisor.com will cover care homes, nursing homes, retirement homes and domiciliary care providers.
It will also have an advice centre with up-to-date news and a forum for people searching for information on care homes.