When you’ve evaluated all of your options and determined that a care home is the best port of call, the next step is to choose the right care home for your or your loved one’s needs. From identifying the best location, whether that’s care homes in Cambridge, London or something more remote, to asking all the right questions when you pay a visit, here’s what you need to look out for when choosing a care home.
Identify What You Need
First thing’s first, you’ll need to determine what it is that you or your loved one needs. Every care home will have it’s specialties, from dementia care to daily nurse visits. Generally speaking, there are three different types of care home:
- Residential – These homes are designed to aid residents with personal care, such as washing, eating and drinking and taking prescribed medication.
- Nursing Care – At Nursing homes, there will be qualified nurses on hand 24/7, a number of whom will specialize in particular illnesses or disabilities.
- Some Residential and Some Nursing – These are typically mixed and can be ideal for those whose disabilities or illnesses are progressing.
Pick Out A Few Ideal Locations
Once you’ve determined the type of care home you need, you can start to dig deeper into the locations and which might work best for you or your loved one. Do you or they want to stay locally, or would you/they prefer somewhere closer to your/their home town, for example? Do you/they prefer the city or the countryside? Once you’ve worked out the ideal locations, you can pick out a few homes to investigate.
Check All Quality Standards
Once you’ve got a list of potential homes, it’s time to start digging deeper, investigating the quality of each home. In the UK, the Care Quality Commission is in charge of regulating care homes and undertaking regular inspections. You can use the NHS Choices website to find CQC-certified care homes for you or your loved one, to ensure you’re getting the highest quality care available.
Visit the Shortlisted Homes And Ask The Right Questions
Once you’ve shortlisted the highest quality homes, it’s time to start visiting to determine which home is the best fit. You’ll need to ask all the right questions to get a full overview of the home, including:
While most care homes will keep residential accessibility in mind, how about accessibility in general? Can friends and family easily access the home to visit, and are there enough car park spaces to do so? What is the surrounding area like? Can residents visit the local shops, parks and attractions easily?
The quality and attentiveness of staff in care homes have been drawn into the limelight as of late, with potential residents and family members concerned as to whether they will receive adequate care. For this reason, it’s important to get a full overview of the staff numbers, quality and how welcoming or interested they appear to be in you or your loved one. How well do staff get to know residents on a friendly level? Is there a senior member of staff always available? Can residents choose if they have a male or female carer, and do all staff have adequate training and qualifications? What is the staff turnover like? While this isn’t always an easy question to get a straight answer to, visiting websites like Glassdoor can give you employee-written reviews of the care home for a ‘behind the scenes’ look into the home.
- Care Needs
This one is crucial – how well can the home cater to you or your loved one’s care needs? You’ll want to know the staff-to-patient ratio, how much attention they will pay to every resident’s situation, whether the resident and family are included in decision making regarding their care and what kind of facilities the home has. Accessible toilets, lifts, ramps and easy access to healthcare professionals are other points to consider, as well as travel arrangements, support for sensory impairments and their available support for key illnesses such as Dementia.
- Food And Drink
For food and drink, you’ll want to know whether residents eat together, whether they can choose to eat alone in their room, whether snacks are available during the day, what the menu will be like and how often it changes, and whether residents can make or store their own food and drink in the home.
- Social Life
What kind of social life and activities will you or your loved one have? Are their regular outings or the chance to head out of the home into the surrounding community regularly? Do the residents around the home seem happy and occupied? What is there available to do during the day if events or activities aren’t being hosted? How comfortable would you or your loved one feel socializing in the community areas?
- Community Connections
Does the care home organize regular interaction with the surrounding community? Are there connections with local organizations to make sure that residents aren’t left feeling isolated?
Are there restrictions on visiting times or the number of visitors that can come at any one time? What kind of facilities are available for visitors? Are there events that involve family members and friends? Are young children welcome to visit too?
What are the home’s fees, and how are you going to finance the stay? Is the calculation and structure of the feed clear to you or your loved one? Are they subject to change, and are they reviews each year? Are there any extra services or items that aren’t included in the fees that you’ll need to be aware of?
Once you’ve asked all of these questions, you can better calculate which care home is right for you or your loved one. Good luck with your search, and make sure to take time with your decision.