Everybody deserves to live with dignity, respect and as independently as possible regardless of their age or background. Along with feeling valued, empowered and having a strong sense of belonging.

It’s a truth we must all face that as we age it’s likely we’ll need more support to make sure we’re healthy and can continue to feel fulfilled and happy.

For many people that will mean moving to a care home or into supported living.

This is why it’s vital we make sure everyone in Greater Manchester has access to the best possible homes with a well-trained and committed workforce, who are there to support them whilst still being part of the community.

The Greater Manchester Teaching Care Home programme, launched on Friday 8 February, is one of the ways we hope to achieve that goal. The model will allow care homes across the region to share their good work, experiences and skills.

There’s much more going on in care homes than a lot of people realise and perceptions need to change. It’s no longer just bingo and boiled sweets and the Teaching Care Home programme is a way for homes to share best practice and innovation.

The programme will create a network where care home managers, health and social care professionals and the voluntary sector can all learn together and help shape the future of care in Greater Manchester.

The initial programme involves eighteen homes, all rated ‘good’, spread across Greater Manchester. Its ambition is to champion and inspire the workforce, laying the foundations of a legacy of learning for the care home sector.

Teaching Care Homes will offer staff and students training, support, mentoring and the opportunity for continued self-development – as creating a strong career path in social care is essential for recruiting and retaining staff.

A ‘training passport’ is being developed – making it easier for staff to work at different care homes. This will allow the standard to be the same across the sector and will be transferable across Greater Manchester. This also allows the knowledge and skill set to be kept in the sector through a reduced training and induction period.

We cannot achieve the type of change we want to see in care homes on our own and the programme has seen us develop strong partnerships with both Manchester Metropolitan University and University of Salford. This will mean quality research can be undertaken throughout the duration of the programme and we can adapt and change what we’re doing based on evidence.

Voluntary and community organisations will also have a role to play, helping care home residents continue to feel valued members of their neighbourhood.

With an ageing population it is essential that we recognise the work care homes are doing while thinking about how things can be improved. If we’re going to make a real difference we must embrace innovative ideas working with a co-designed model, whilst listening to people who work in the sector day in, day out.

The programme will run for the next twelve months. I am certain everyone involved will learn a lot from working with each other and we will start to build on the positive changes that are taking place across all of Greater Manchester.

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