Care providers for the elderly will have to offer personalised environments with home comforts such as residents’ own furniture and choice of decor, thanks to a new ruling.

From October, any residential or care home deemed to be too institutional and impersonal will be downgraded in tougher inspections by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which recently admitted being lax in its care home ratings.

Research has shown the distress caused by moving into a residential or care home can be eased with familiar belongings and homely surroundings, especially for people with dementia.

The Daily Express reported that care minister Norman Lamb said the personal touches would create for residents “a link to their life before they entered a home”.

He added: “The whole focus needs to be on personalising care as much as possible … Whatever works for an individual is what the care home ought to focus on.”

Under the stringent new regime, the CQC will review 25,000 homes and home-care providers, with the worst put into special measures and forced to improve or be shut down.

The homeliness of the residents’ environment will be just one of the comprehensive inspection criteria.

The CQC’s new system is its way of stepping up its inspections and reports, following its admission this month of failure to report adequately on care homes.

The healthcare inspection body said it had been afraid of litigation from private care home owners and, as a result, had let down the vulnerable residents of poorly-run homes.

Although decor and home comforts are an important factor in creating a comfortable place to live, the CQC will now be putting care homes under pressure to come up to scratch in every aspect of their service.

Far from avoiding legal claims from care homes, the watchdog will be looking for the kind of failings that more usually result in bed sores and pressure sores compensation.

Once these issues are dealt with, letting residents bring familiar bedspreads into a new home will be a pleasant bonus.