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Time to highlight the value of nursing in care homes

Carol Dale 23 Jun 2023

While the NHS is very much part of everyone’s life, most of us don’t engage with care homes until later in life. This may be during a crisis when a friend, relative or indeed we are in need of support and subsequently make contact with social care services. 

At this time of crisis, we can experience a number of emotions from anxiety, confusion, panic and guilt, plus physical and emotional exhaustion, particularly if we have been a carer. This can often lead to challenges in understanding and perhaps even a degree of fear of the unknown.

This week is the annual ‘Care Home Open Week’, providing an opportunity for care homes to highlight the value they add to individuals and to the health and social care sector, as well as the important and positive role they play in their local community. 

It’s a time to thank care home staff for the vital role they play now, and during the pandemic, and showcase the career opportunities on offer.

In my role, as Lead Nurse Independent Health and Social Care (Scotland), I have the pleasure of working with colleagues from care homes across Scotland on a daily basis.

Did you know that the concept behind care homes was introduced in the 17th century? However, at this time they were known as poorhouses. Thankfully a lot has changed. The importance of care homes has grown, particularly with an aging population with complex care needs and multiple co-morbidities. The care provided impacts on a range of social and health factors including tackling isolation and loneliness, physical activity, mental health and wellbeing and having care needs met in a person-centred way.

The role of the care home nurse has also developed and continues to do so. The specialised level of knowledge that care home nurses require is vast and includes leadership skills, decision making skills, communication skills, polypharmacy, dementia, co-morbidity, cognitive impairment conditions, musculoskeletal conditions, wound care, stroke, end of life care, critical and non-critical care, regulatory and legislative knowledge, person centred care planning and much more. 

Care homes are an integral part of health and social care providing specialist physical and emotional support to our aging population with a view to improving quality of life. There has been so much change and innovation within this space over the years and I am excited to see how our care homes and the amazing staff working in them grow and develop to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by of our ageing population. 

This care home open week, I hope you will join me in shining a light on the importance of the care home sector in Scotland and on the essential role nursing has to play.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me at if you want to discuss the RCN’s work with the Independent Health and Social Care sector in Scotland and the number of ways we can support and represent members. 

Carol Dale

Carol Dale

Lead Nurse Independent Health and Social Care, Scotland

Carol is a Registered General Nurse with almost 30 years' experience working within both the NHS and the Independent Health and Social Care (IHSC) sector.  

Her roles within the IHSC sector have included working as a Director of Care, Regional/ Divisional Manager, Hospital Manager and Independent Care Consultant. She has a BA in Nursing and a BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care, and she is currently studying for an MSc in Nursing.

Page last updated - 21/11/2023