Finding the Right Care Home for Your Parent
There comes a time when your elderly parent may realise that he or she can no longer live independently. The decision to move into a care home is a difficult one, but once that decision is made, this is a journey that your parent should not have to take alone.
You can help support your parent and offer reassurance by working together with him/her in surveying the care home options available, and determining which one is best suited for your parent. You also must make sure that the care home has a good reputation, and you must see for yourself that they are always consistent in the quality of home care that they provide. Some ways to do this are:
1. Determine what your parent cares about. If your parent is very close to his or her pet, you will want to make sure that the care home is pet friendly. You also may want to consider proximity so that it’s easy for you and your parent’s friends and relatives to visit regularly. Also, will the care home allow your parent to bring personal possessions, furniture and the like?
2. Level of care needed. Some care homes are adequate only for a specific level of care. Can you parent move about with a degree of independence, for example with the use of a cane or a wheelchair? Or is your parent completely bedridden? Will your parent need oxygen regularly? Is your parent currently intubated? Make sure that the services provided by the care home will match the needs of your elderly parent.
3. Quality care. You want to make sure that the care home is consistent in terms of the quality of care that your elderly parent receives, and that the atmosphere is cheerful and pleasant, even when nobody is watching. Some ways to determine this are:
a. Find out if the staff turnover is high. This would be a reflection of whether the care home is being managed well or poorly. A quick turnover indicates instability inside the facility, which creates an atmosphere of unpredictability that can be upsetting for the residents.
b. Make a surprise visit. By visiting unannounced, you can determine what the true general atmosphere is like in a care home. How are you received? Tour the facility to see whether it is kept clean, and to determine the general mood of people who are staying there.
c. Try to talk to people who are staying there. Ask them if they like the care home, and take time to listen to them talk about the way things are being run in the place.
4. Your personal needs. Would it be easier for you to visit your parent if he or she is in a home care that is near you, friends and family? Consult with relatives and your parent’s friends and ask their advice regarding what area they think would be best for your parent. It is possible that your parent would not like being in a new area where the local shops are unfamiliar. Also, the more frequently your parent can be visited, the better. Make sure that the care home is easily accessible to all.
5. Is the care home close to restaurants, shops and churches? This will be more convenient for your parent and also for those who visit.
6. Ask friends and family about your short list. It is possible that your parent’s friends and family will know something about care homes in your short list, whether it has a good or a bad reputation in general.
7. Check records. Try to access recent Care Quality Commission inspection reports of the home cares on your shortlist.
8. Trial period. Ask if the care home allows a trial period so that your parent can decide if he/she wants to stay there or not. If your parent has chosen a home care but later decides he/she doesn’t like the place, what will be the requirements of the care home be for leaving?
These are some tips you can consider when you are looking for the most appropriate place for your parent to stay in. Remember that sharing the journey of finding the place is only half of the job required. You also want a place where your parent will really be happy, as stability is most important for elderly adults, and having to move from one home to another can be stressful and worrisome for both of you.
In our section ‘Care and Support Care Advice’ we have sourced together some information to help you in deciding the best Care Option for you.