My Home Life project was initiated in 2006 by National Care Forum, an organisation that represents not-for-profit care homes; and Help the Aged.
The starting point for the My Home Life vision was recognition that much of the media coverage and public opinion around care homes is negative and critical. At that time, there were few organisations reaching out to those involved in care homes to support quality improvements in a positive way and working along with the sector to achieve a vision of good quality of life.
Developing the Vision
In the first phase, Professor Julienne Meyer at City University London was commissioned to synthesise the evidence-base for quality of life in care homes and prepare a full literature review. As a result, eight original themes were developed to underpin the vision which then grew into a philosophy and full programme of linked work. The vision was delivered in partnership with the National Care Homes Research and Development Forum, an academic resource which continues to be linked to the initiative today. You can find out more about the eight themes in the Good Practice section.
Sharing the vision
The second phase involved communicating this vision across ~18,000 care homes for older people in the UK and developing the support of all provider organisations. Resources included a range of papers, posters and bulletins and a documentary celebrating and sharing best practice. During this phase, the organisation grew from a project into a full programme of linked work, gaining the support of all the provider organisations that represent care homes across the UK. In 2008, My Home Life Cymru was also established as a funded initiative of Age Cymru, initially working directly with 38 selected care homes from across Wales.
Supporting the vision in practice
In 2009, a range of funding allowed My Home Life to actively work with care homes and wider local and national agencies to embed the vision for quality of life into practice. In England, through our Leadership Support programme, a growing movement of 500 care home managers began to work together to take forward the vision. In Wales, MHL Cymru are continuing their work, directly supporting over 350 care homes. In 2012, MHL Scotland was launched, so far engaging an additional 150 care home managers into the movement through the Leadership Support and Community Development programme. In 2014 the first group of managers in Northern Ireland also began the Leadership Support programme, while also working on knowledge transfer for 4 of the 8 best practice themes.
Sustaining the movement
In 2015, My Home Life continues to develop resources, support practice and influence policy across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With support from the Henry Smith Charity, My Home Life is better able to extend our reach – allowing us to support a sustained movement of individuals and organisations that are working towards a world where care homes are great places to live, work, visit and die – find out more here, and join the movement today.
“Having been involved with the My Home Life programme from the outset the National Care Forum is pleased to be associated with it and proud of what it has already achieved. It has given a new focus to quality of life in care homes for older people in positive ways underpinned by sound research evidence. It is our view that the MHL programme has the potential to contribute significantly to improving quality by assisting in transforming care and support services.”
Des Kelly OBE Executive Director, National Care Forum