This paper seeks to describe the development of an annual National Housing for Older People Awards scheme, to celebrate innovation in extra care housing, using a card game between residents to gather views on the services they receive. The approach, based entirely on residents' views, has been further developed into a Resident Consultation Service and is suitable for both general retirement housing and housing‐with‐care schemes.
As a case study of development practice, the paper is based on the first‐hand knowledge of the development team. It relates this development to the broader UK policy context which now requires older persons' accommodation services to develop a range of consultative approaches, and highlights the importance of including informal, scheme‐based and social opportunities for residents to share their views – especially for those who may be frail.
The card game approach is informal, resident‐led, allows for group discussions and group scores and scoring by individuals, and provides meaningful comparisons with other schemes regionally and nationally. In the absence of formal evaluative research, the feedback from service users is that the card game, combined with the awards nomination and ceremony, is an enjoyable and effective means to elicit their views, with minimal input from the service provider agencies.
The card game offers an enjoyable and engaging, but low cost means of providing essential feedback to service providers in housing with care and support. The awards approach takes this further, as a means by which current older residents can now provide benchmarking quality information for future potential residents across the country.
This is the first paper of its kind to describe the development of the awards scheme, the Resident Consultation Service, and the card game itself. As an example of empowering practice, it will be of interest to supported accommodation services and any others working with older persons, or other comparable resident groups, to encourage them to give their views individually and collectively on the services they receive, and to celebrate the successes of good services.
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