Ask Sheila - Archive England

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and therefore is no longer available to answer your social care questions. However, you might still find the answer you’ve been searching for down below.

11th January 2017

Are shared rooms still allowed?

What is the current situation with regards to shared rooms in Residential Care of the Elderly? Are they still allowed and in what circumstances?


Dear Peter,


Thank you for your question. Some of the information that you require you will find in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014:


Regulation 15 which is about premises and equipment.


You can find the regulation and guidance at


The regulation says that:


15 -1 All premises and equipment used by the service provider must be—


  1. suitable for the purpose for which they are being used,


The accompanying guidance says that:


  • Premises must be fit for purpose in line with statutory requirements and should take account of national best practice.
  • Premises must be suitable for the service provided, including the layout, and be big enough to accommodate the potential number of people using the service at any one time. There must be sufficient equipment to provide the service.
  • Adequate support facilities and amenities must be provided where relevant to the service being provided. This includes sufficient toilets and bathrooms for the number of people using the service, adequate storage space, adequate seating and waiting space.
  • People's needs must be taken into account when premises are designed, built, maintained, renovated or adapted. Their views should also be taken into account when possible.
  • People should be able to easily enter and exit premises and find their way around easily and independently. If they can't, providers must make reasonable adjustments in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and other current legislation and guidance.
  • Any alterations to the premises or the equipment that is used to deliver care and treatment must be made in line with current legislation and guidance. Where the guidance cannot be met, the provider should have appropriate contingency plans and arrangements to mitigate the risks to people using the service.
  • The premises and equipment used to deliver care and treatment must meet people's needs and, where possible, their preferences. This includes making sure that privacy, dignity and confidentiality are not compromised.
  • Reasonable adjustments must be made when providing equipment to meet the needs of people with disabilities, in line with requirements of the Equality Act 2010.


So the responsibility rests with you, but there are a number of things that you need to take into account:


  • If you are doing a new build or an extension you need to comply with building regulations
  • Most providers tell me that they find it increasingly difficult to let shared rooms
  • Many local Councils do not contract for shared rooms


I hope this is helpful. Please come back to me if you have further questions.

Best wishes.


*All information is correct at the time of publishing.

About Sheila

Sheila Scott OBE has now retired and over the years , prior to her retirement she has answered thousands of your social questions. You can still access the many questions below.

For Sheila Scott OBE as the former CEO of National Care Association (NCA), care is Sheila's life. She possesses a strong command of the issues facing the care sector informed by her long career as a nursing professional, the owner and manager of a care business, and as a leader in the care sector.

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