Small residential homes: family care or mini institution?

Holland, C. A. and Peace, S. M. (1998). Small residential homes: family care or mini institution? In: 51st Annual Scientific Meeting of The Gerontological Society of America, 20-24 Nov 1998, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Since 1993 small residential homes for 4 or less adults in Britain have had to be registered with local authorities under the Registered Homes (Amendment) Act 1991 consequently like childminding, adult placement and foster care, they provide an example of surrogate family care which is regulated by the state. Such homes now provide accommodation and care for 6,102 older people and whilst this is a very small proportion of the total residential population (c. 2% ), it is one that is growing.
Currently community care policy within Britain asserts the basic philosophical principle that receiving care at home is better than in institutions. But is this the case? The authors draw upon material from both a pilot study in three authorities and an on-going national study of the quality of life of older people in small homes. In particular findings will be presented concerning the physical and social environments of care; the nature of the home as a small business and the impact of regulation. The authors will also comment on the similarities and differences between British small homes and American board and care homes.

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