Close to three quarters of “inadequate” care homes have improved their ratings following re-inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
As a result, more than 12,000 people across the UK are now in better and safer care.
Out of 372 care homes that were rated as inadequate, 73% improved their ratings following their most recent CQC inspection.
Of the 273 improved homes, 205 moved a step up to “requires improvement”, while 68 are now rated as good.
Care homes were able to demonstrate their improved quality of care by doing such things as investing in training so that staff understand the need of those they are caring for, cleaning rooms and making them welcoming for residents and involving residents in decisions about their care.
Andrea Sutcliffe, CQC’s chief inspector of adult social care, said: “I welcome the improvements we have seen during our re-inspections of care homes that were originally rated as inadequate.
“Real change does not happen overnight – the improved ratings are a testament to the time, effort and determination of providers, their managers and their staff.
“This is good news for the people who use their services who have every right to expect care we would be happy for a loved one to receive.
“While services that have moved to requires improvement are heading in the right direction, I am clear that this is still not good enough and providers cannot afford to be complacent.”
However, 34 care homes that were said to be inadequate subsequently closed down, either because they were forced to do so by the CQC or at the suggestion of the provider.
On this, Sutcliffe added: “Ultimately, if services cannot or will not improve for the benefit of people they are paid to support, then quite frankly there is no place for them in the care sector.
“As the regulator, we will be vigilant and will not hesitate to use our powers to put a stop to poor standards of care being provided if necessary.”
Since the new approach to monitoring and inspecting was introduced 18 months ago, CQC has rated 11,421 care homes, with only 1% meeting the “outstanding” requirements.
Meanwhile, 67% have been rated “good”, 30% “requires improvement” and 3% “inadequate”.
There are currently 17,000 care homes in England registered with the CQC, who expect to have inspected each one at least once by the end of March 2017.
Emily Holzhausen, the director of policy at Carers UK, said: “The early signs of improvement following re-inspections announced today are encouraging but many families will remain concerned that there is not consistently high quality residential care available to those they support.
“Good quality care means dignity and respect for the person being cared for and also gives carers peace of mind that the person they love is well looked after.
She added: “Without trust and confidence in the quality of care being provided families see a number of negative effects on their own lives from giving up work to care, to straining relationships with friends and family.”