More than half of primary care trusts do not offer access to the full range of health services care home residents may need, according to analysis of data collected by the Care Quality Commission.

There is also great variation in the targets set by PCTs to self assess their performance on access to services for care homes, the analysis by the British Geriatrics Society found.

The society, which represents clinicians specialising in older patients’ care, was given access by the CQC to previously unpublished results from a national survey of all 152 PCTs on what services they provided to care homes in their area.  

In only 43 per cent of PCT areas were care home residents likely to have access to a full range of community health services – namely mental health teams, dietetics, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, continence, falls and tissue viability.

In addition, there was limited access for care homes to specialist care, with only 60 per cent of PCTs ensuring access to a geriatrician, the society said.

Society president Finbarr Martin said the analysis “confirms our fears that the healthcare needs of older care home residents are being neglected in some areas”.

The data forms the first part of a special review of healthcare support for care home residents carried out by the regulator.

The CQC today published the results from the second part of the review, comprising inspections and interviews at 81 care homes – including 27 nursing homes – in nine of the PCT areas considered to be especially “at risk of poor performance”. It looked at whether older people and those with learning disabilities were treated with dignity, had choice in their care and were safe.

The investigation found 30 per cent of nursing homes did not have a “do not attempt resuscitation” policy and in those that did, just 37 per cent of staff had received training on it.

The review found a quarter of care home residents did not feel they were offered a choice of male or female staff to help them use the toilet.

In addition, only 44 per cent of care homes received routine visits from GPs and 35 per cent reported they “sometimes” had problems getting medicines to residents on time.

Positive key findings were that 77 per cent of care plans seen considered the views of the resident and 96 per cent of homes identified the changing health care needs of residents through informal or responsive monitoring.

CQC director of operations Amanda Sherlock said: “The small sample size limits our ability to draw national-level conclusions.

“However, we will be using this review to help us identify problem areas and we’ll be looking at these issues in our upcoming inspection programme looking at dignity and nutrition in 500 care homes.”