6 KEY STEPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT CARE HOME
Making the decision to accept help later on in life can be a difficult conclusion to reach. When you take in to account that you are accepting that you need to move into residential care, you need to be comfortable that you are making the right decision and that you will feel happy, comfortable and secure when you move.
If you are considering residential care for yourself or a loved one, then take some time to read through this article which highlights 6 key steps to take when starting the process of finding a residential care home that is right for you. At any of the steps below, you can include your family and relations in making decisions with you if you feel that this is what you would like.
WHAT ARE YOUR CARE NEEDS?
You might not be aware that you can access a free needs assessment from your local authority. Whilst it might seem obvious what assistance is required; a care assessment can also serve to identify if you qualify for any additional funding. Funding will only be authorised with an assessment which could save valuable finances
At the very least, a care assessment might identify a need that has not already been considered and therefore a potential care option that could be required.
WHAT SHOULD YOU LOOK FOR IN A CARE HOME?
It is worth writing a list of everything that you consider to be important in a residential care home regardless of how important or trivial it may seem. Apart from obvious things like location, site facilities, visiting times and typical weekly menu of food, you will want to find out about specific requirements like any specialist health care provision that you might have. Your personal needs are important and will need to be taken into consideration.
On the other hand, do not be afraid to consider the smaller things in life. Do you want to have a nice view when you open the curtains in the morning? Do you have a preference to being on the ground floor as opposed to being higher up (whether for physical reasons or otherwise)? It is better to make a comprehensive list. Don’t leave anything else out.
To ensure due diligence, have a look online at the digital presence of a care home. Their website will have testimonials from families about their thoughts on the provision of the home. Also check Google. It is rare that a business nowadays does not have a Google page and therefore Google reviews. Google reviews cannot be altered in any way and so are as good a reference to how good the care home is perceived to be as you will find online. If you know of anyone who resides in a care home (or a relative thereof) then ask them about their experiences too.
You are likely to find more information on care homes in your area by visiting www.carehomes.co.uk or www.caresourcer.com. The Care Quality Commission also have a website where you can find out about care homes too (www.cqc.org.uk)
Another source of reference that you may not have considered could be your doctor or even the adult social care department of your local authority. They are also likely to have experiences with care homes in your area as anyone else.
READ PUBLIC REPORTS ON CARE HOMES
This follows on from the previous point. There are several independent watchdogs who are responsible for inspecting care homes and making publicly available their reports.
The Care Quality Commission is one such example of a care home watchdog.
Accessing and reading care home reports can tell you all kinds of things:
· Have there been any recent issues?
· Have any current issues been dealt with?
· What is the level of staff turnover?
· How does the watchdog rate various areas of the business?
· Are there a lot of recent inspections? This could indicate that there is a current issue.
SPEAK WITH YOUR SHORTLISTED CARE HOMES
Once you have made a short list of potential care homes and are happy with your background checks, it’s time to get in touch with the care homes and speak with the care manager. It is a good idea to have your list of questions ready for when you speak so that you can cover everything that is required.
When you speak with the care home, make sure you ask about room availability as well as room fees and costs for optional extras. If the care home is not of the right price point, it is better to know straight away rather than later down the line when you have your heart set on it.
If you feel that the initial conversation has gone well, ask the manager to confirm everything (including prices) in an email or letter you and to send you a brochure to look through. Consider booking an appointment to visit the care home at this stage too.
VISIT YOUR SHORTLISTED CARE HOMES
Now that you have at least one confirmed residential care home that meets your requirements, it is time to visit the home to see it for yourself. It is a good idea to undertake this visit with your family so that you can benefit from their opinion too. After all, they too will want to know that you will be living in a nice home and receiving the right care and support.
Your visit will show you what the home looks like, what your room might look like, what activities are available throughout the week and give you a chance to meet some of the other residents. Consider how you feel when you visit the home. Does the ambience make you feel like you will be happy there? Are the residents chatty and positive? Is the décor to your liking? Is the home of a high standard of cleanliness?
You will have the chance to speak with the home manager in person and ask whatever you need. It would be a good idea to ask about any potential contracts that are required to book and keep a room in the home. If you are happy with your visit, you could even plan an unannounced visit should you require further peace of mind. If you still need more reassurance, speak with the home manager about staying at the care home for an agreed trial period to test the water.
It may be that you are unable to physically visit the home. If this is the case then you should ask a representative of the home to come and visit you wherever you live
CONSIDERING THE ADDITIONAL COSTS AND SERVICES OF CARE HOME SERVICES
Should there be additional fees for certain benefits in a care home, this should not be viewed as wrong. It is normal to pay for goods and services and accommodation is no different. However, do make sure that you have a good understanding of what benefits fall under the banner of an added extra and not in the standard package. Any additional funds or fees that are paid for extra services or benefits should be completely voluntary and offered as such.
If you will be receiving any funds from your local authority to help pay for your care, speak with them about any top-up fees as they may be able to offer advice on how this is done.
One final point to consider would be your cultural or religious needs. Check that the care home can provide for your lifestyle in these ways to your satisfaction. This could be by way of certain food requirements, medication, prayer activities or however you need to live for your beliefs and heritage.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED SITES
Care Quality Commission - www.cqc.org.uk
Which? Consumer Site - https://www.which.co.uk/
Age UK - https://www.ageuk.org.uk/
Carehome.co.uk - https://www.carehome.co.uk/advice/finding-a-care-home