Choosing a Care Home

Choosing a Care Home

If you or a loved one is elderly and/or disabled then you may have given consideration to residential care. Often seen as a last resort, residential care can be wrongly discounted with many people choosing to rely on inadequate domiciliary care (care provided in service users’ own homes). While remaining in your own home is understandably desirable it may be worth looking into whether residential care could increase quality of life now or in the future.

It is widely accepted that remaining in our own homes for as long as we can is a common goal. Local authorities endorse this and only support residential care when the disabled or elderly person (or their carer) would have an unacceptable quality of life should they remain at home.

Sheltered housing – otherwise known as Warden Assisted Housing, is suitable for people who are more physically independent but welcome the security of knowing that somebody is available in emergencies.
Sheltered housing residents have their own self-contained room or flat with communal gardens and living areas provided. There is a call system (usually a red emergency chord or button) provided in each flat, and an on-call warden available 24 hours a day. Some developments also offer extra levels of care and the opportunity to arrange care at home provided by an outside domiciliary care agency, so make sure you check exactly what each accommodation provides.
Wherever possible, each individual should be involved in all decisions about their own life, but when diminished mental capability makes that impossible their family needs to consider whether domiciliary care can adequately meet all their specific needs.
Issues surrounding safety, cost and carers’ wellbeing are all important things to consider. Once these questions are raised it is worth taking the time to research if residential care can offer more stability and better quality of life.
There are several types of care home available, offering different levels and categories of care.

Residential care homes
These homes provide accommodation and care assistance to all residents. The type of care is usually personal (non-medical) and domestic care including help with bathing, dressing, meals and laundry. Most care homes are able to assist with dispensing medication. They all have carers available around the clock and most offer organised activities although this will vary with each home.

Residential nursing homes
Nursing care differs from residential care in as much as qualified nurses are on hand to carry out more complex medical procedures, such as peg-feeding, managing a ventilator and injecting medications. There are also homes that specialise in offering care for residents with dementia. If you are considering a home for a loved one with dementia then make sure all staff are specifically trained in dementia care.

When an elderly or disabled person lives at home with the help of a spouse, friend or family member there often comes a time when both parties need a break from the usual routine. In these cases respite care (where the individual moves into residential care for a short period of time) is offered by some care homes.

Establishments that offer respite care will often offer a temporary stay for those who are considering a permanent move into residential care. Each home has varying facilities for temporary care so contact them directly for more information.
If you are not sure which type of care home you need then you can ask for a needs assessment from your local social services. If you are not sure who your local authority is you can find out at http://local.direct.gov.uk/LDGRedirect/index.jsp?LGSL=209 using your address and/or postcode. If you don’t have access to the Internet then you can find a telephone number in the phone book for your local social services and they can put you through to the relevant adult care services department. You can also speak to your GP about health and social care issues.

As the UK population average age has increased so has the number of care homes. Faced with so many choices it can be a daunting challenge finding the right one. Once you have identified the type of care you need then there are several ways to find a home that suits.

· Local authorities

Your local social services may be able to provide a list of care homes, although it is important not to assume any implied recommendation.

· The Care Quality Commission (CQC

The CQC is the body that regulates all care homes in the UK to make sure they are providing quality care to all residents. They can provide up-to-date information on care homes in your area, as well as copies of recent inspection reports. For more information you can contact them at http://www.cqc.org.uk or telephone them on 03000 616161 during office hours.

· Internet search

Care homes are increasingly advertising their services online where you can contact them directly for more information. There are also a number of independent websites that assist with finding the best care home, including Find Me Good Care at www.findmegoodcare.co.uk which is run by the Social Care Institute for Excellence. Always check sites for details on who runs them to gauge their impartiality.

· Yellow Pages

The Yellow Pages and/or local telephone directory will contain some of your local care homes and their contact details.

Visits

The best way to get a sense of what a care home offers is to visit it yourself, talk to the staff and residents and ask questions. For example:

· Are you registered with the CQC and can I have a copy of your last inspection report?

· When and how often can I visit/have visitors?

· What organised activities do you offer?

· How flexible are you with dining? Can residents choose when and what they eat?

· Can residents bring their own possessions with them?

· Do you have single and/or double bedded rooms?

· What time are residents helped to get up and go to bed?

· Is there a private telephone line for residents’ use? Can they bring mobile phones?

If you familiarise yourself with the home before you commit then you will be able to get a sense of how happy the residents and staff are there. Trust your instinct – if it ‘feels’ wrong then keep looking, but don’t let yourself be frightened off by negative news reports. Sadly, only the minority of poor care homes make the news and the many excellent care homes around the UK remain overlooked by the media.

·         Residential care homes

These homes provide accommodation and care assistance to all residents. The type of care is usually personal (non-medical) and domestic care including help with bathing, dressing, meals and laundry. Most care homes are able to assist with dispensing medication. They all have carers available around the clock and most offer organised activities although this will vary with each home.

·         Residential nursing homes

Nursing care differs from residential care in as much as qualified nurses are on hand to carry out more complex medical procedures, such as peg-feeding, managing a ventilator and injecting medications. There are also homes that specialise in offering care for residents with dementia. If you are considering a home for a loved one with dementia then make sure all staff are specifically trained in dementia care.

Please contact us and make use of our service
Our overall purpose at Care Homes Today is to help the care seeker find the right solution for their particular care needs and we also wish to make our contribution towards encouraging and publicising the better care providers and to highlight concerns about others where it is appropriate.
For more information please do feel free to contact us directly either by email or telephone. We will be very happy to see what we can do to help you and remember our service is free of charge.

14/11/2016 / by / in

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