10 Things to Look for When Choosing a Residential Care Home

Disabled Senior Man Sitting In Wheelchair With Carer BehindFinding the right home will take some time, particularly if you are looking for specific care needs, but careful preparation is the key to success. Look at websites and brochures to narrow down your search initially to check the homes you are considering have all the facilities you need, but remember nothing substitutes a visit to really get a feel for the place.

Visit Care Homes to see How They Perform

It is a good idea to ring and make an appointment for your first visit. This gives the home the opportunity to free up someone to show you round properly and give you the individual attention you will need to have your questions answered. On subsequent follow- up visits, you may wish to arrive unannounced to get a better idea of how the place is run and how staff interact with residents. If you get a chance to talk to any of the residents and ask their opinion, all the better. It is useful to time your visits at different times during the day- including at mealtimes. Don’t feel you are getting in the way or being a nuisance. This is a huge decision, and the home should value your interest.

The top 10 things to do and look out for when looking round are –

1. first check that the home is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). They inspect all health and social care services in England. Their mission is to ensure quality of care in medical facilities, care homes as well as the care received in private homes. They conduct regular reviews to see how these care facilities are performing. If the facility you are thinking of has been accredited by CQC, you can know it has satisfied all safety and quality control guidelines. If concerns have been flagged up, this is an important warning sign and you must satisfy yourself that the problems are being addressed quickly and satisfactorily.

2. does the residential care home have all the appropriate equipment available to ensure the aged person doesn’t suffer loss of independence? Some of these things should include bathrooms which have been adapted for the frail and disabled as well as equipment such as handrails and ramps.

3. will the dietary needs of your loved one be met? Are plates of food just placed in the room whether the old person has the strength to eat or not? Meals should not only provide nutrients for sufficient energy, nursing assistants need to be available to feed those who can’t help themselves.

4. when a senior person moves to a residential care home, they may have to give up some of their freedom they enjoyed at home. Will independence and privacy be diminished? Lots of freedom with a few reasonable rules in place for their benefit can ensure the residents are happy and content.

5. what is the attitude of nursing staff in your residential care home of choice? Are they calm, caring and compassionate or fraught and rushed, with little time to spare for conversation or kindness? Find out what qualifications the staff have – has just one named staff member had specific dementia training or is it standard for everyone working there?

6. are pets allowed? Many old people become anguished at the thought of being separated from their beloved pets. Pets help reduce stress and encourage some social interaction and mental stimulation.

7. what medical attention is available at your residential care home of choice? Do they have their own frail care or clinic and is transport and ambulance transport available? There are some care homes that require their residents to use specific pharmacies or medical centres.

8 what safety precautions are in place?  Managers have to provide a fire safe environment and comply with all fire safety laws. Also residents with dementia who have a  tendency to wander need careful safeguarding.

9. ask about regular and unscheduled activities for residents in the care home. Is a library available, a coffee room, gym, hairdresser or swimming pool? Are varied activities and events arranged which promote excitement and anticipation?

10. find out about funding. Its important to know all the costs involved and whether you will be entitled to financial support from your local authority. The care home manager will be able to provide you with the information you need about fees and how to seek guidance from social services if you haven’t already done so.

Success is Connected to the Right Preparation

There is a direct correlation between the residential care home you choose and the health and happiness of your loved one. You want to be able to trust the care home to keep your loved one happy and as comfortable as possible throughout the future stages of their frailties and illnesses. If your loved one has dementia, not all care homes cater for people with this illness. A list of local care homes as well as inspection reports are available from the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England. By contacting them, visiting a few care homes and asking lots of questions, you”ll feel confident that you have done the best in giving your loved one all they goodness, safety and care they deserve.