In a recent government announcement from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, care homes and home care providers who fail to meet new standards of practice will run the risk of being placed in special measures.

The scheme will be applied to 25,000 care homes and homecare services across the country, following the successful reform of 11 UK hospitals placed in special measures last year.

The new system aims to identify poor-performing services in an effort to improve standards of care across the board and reduce the rising number of care home neglect and abuse cases.

From October this year, care homes will be subject to more rigorous inspection processes and awarded a rating based on effective and appropriate means of care, patient compassion and staff competency. Those deemed to be inadequate will be placed in special measures and failure to improve could lead to services being closed down by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

When entrusting the care of a family member to a professional body, relatives need peace of mind that they will receive the care and attention they deserve. Whilst the great majority of care homes and homecare services are providing exceptional levels of service, instances of care home neglect are becoming an increasing cause for public concern.

Reports of elderly people being mistreated at the hands of care home staff have become more prevalent in recent years, with many relatives choosing to take legal action against the culpable institute and employees involved.

Care home neglect not only takes its toll on the health and well-being of the resident or patient, but can also be a harrowing experience for their relatives too. The support of legal professionals can be invaluable in securing a justified outcome from what is an extremely emotional ordeal.

It is hoped that the new standards will highlight poor care, allowing families to make more informed choices when it comes to selecting a care home provider and, ultimately, eradicating cases of care home neglect.