Choosing a care home where staff have skills to give great end-of-life care

The Gold Standards Framework

  • Talking Points

Dr Keri Thomas OBE Founder and former Clinical Director and CEO of  the Gold Standards Framework writes:

We want to be sure that the care home chosen for our loved one will enable them to stay there to receive great care there when the end-of-life approaches.

In normal times in the UK, about half a million people live in care homes and about a quarter of the population end their lives there. How can we ensure this important and most vulnerable group of people live well and, when the time comes, die well in care homes, whether there is a pandemic or not?  As we know, every day is precious.

Gold Standards Framework

The Gold Standards Framework (GSF) began when a group of GPs, district nurses and care homes staff explored what top quality ‘gold standard’ care would look like, and what would be needed to get there. GSF was first used in GP practices, evaluated and refined. From 2004 the NHS rolled it out to every GP practice in the UK, and later adapted it for care homes, hospitals, hospices, care in the home, prisons, retirement villages and other settings. Over the past 20 years many thousands of staff have been trained and many hundreds of teams have been GSF accredited. Over 100 care homes have received the Gold Standard accreditation four times.*

What GSF Provides

The GSF quality improvement training programme and accreditation provides personalised , coordinated care. People likely to be in their final year of life are involved in discussions to assesses their clinical and personal needs and wishes. This is called advance care planning, and provides coordinated care to meet these needs in the best way. Recognition of spiritual needs and compassionate care are key underlying themes.  GSF principles are now part of national policy, and GSF accredited care homes are recognised by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as providing excellent quality care, including end of life care. GSF is now working with Hospice UK to spread this further to even more people, hoping all care providers will give quality end of life care.

So you might want to look out for GSF Accreditation with the GSF Quality Hallmark Award when choosing a care home for a relative, a GP practice, hospital, domiciliary care provider or retirement village. CQC ratings, local feedback and personal impression on visiting are also important signs.

For more details of GSF  see ,  for details of GSF accredited homes near you see  , for the celebration of 20 years of GSF – see vimeo  and for  current information from GSF within hospiceUK 

Dr Keri Thomas OBE

Founder and former Clinical Director and CEO of GSF, Clinical Lead of GSF international

*Accreditation is 3 yearly. Fourth time accredited homes have been accredited for at least 12 years and doing GSF about 14 years.This demonstrates long term sustainability despite staff turnover.