There are many different sorts of care homes. Some provide nursing care and some don’t. (Whether you need a care home with nursing will depend on your assessment.) There are large homes that are like hotels (with care) and there are small family-style homes. Some are run by large organisations and some are run by family businesses. There are even homes run by professional associations, unions, and religious organisations for their members and families. Because there is such a variety of care homes, it is important that you consider more than one before making a choice.
The type of care offered in care homes can vary. Some care homes simply offer companionship and cooked meals for older people who are active, although this type of care is now limited. Other care homes provide
personal care for more dependent people. This might include help with washing, dressing, bathing, toileting needs, taking medicine and ensuring that an adequate diet is provided.
Some homes offer nursing care as well as personal care, for example, they may be able to assist people who:
Are unable to walk or stand on their own
Have continence problems
Are experiencing dementia
It is suggested that you and a close friend or a relative, makes an appointment to visit your preferred homes to see what they are like and the facilities that are available. When visiting the home you may not have a lot of time to decide if it is suitable so it is a good idea to prepare the questions you want to ask before you get there.
Below is a checklist of things to consider in relation to the fees, contract, care practices, staff,
accommodation, meals and leisure.
Always find out from the local council social care services what they usually pay for the type of care you need in a care home (their ‘standard’ or ‘usual’ rate).
- Will your relatives be expected to make a contribution?
- How often does the care home increase its fees?
- Will you be able to afford regular fee increases?
- Will you have to move out if you cannot pay?
- Do you have to pay a deposit or any fees in advance?
- Is there an extra charge for: Laundry, Hairdressing, Chiropody, Extra care, Leisure activities Incontinence pads, Newspapers, Toiletries and Physiotherapy?
All care homes should produce a ‘statement of purpose’ to help you make a choice about the home you want to move into. The statement should set out the objectives, philosophy of care, services provided, the facilities and terms and conditions of the home. The home should also provide a service user’s guide written in plain English and made available in a language and/or format suitable for intended residents,
You may wish to consider about the type of care home you want to live in:
- Will you be involved in making decisions about your care?
- Will the care home involve your relatives or other carers in looking after you? The home should only involve your relatives or carer with your permission.
- Can the care home support your care needs?
- Do they have all the equipment necessary for your care?
- Would the care home be able to support your needs if they increased?
During your visit it is important to consider the staff in the care home, as you will have contact with them on a daily basis.
- Does it look as if there are enough members of staff?
- Do they seem too busy or do they have time to sit and spend time with residents?
- Do staff help residents to do things for themselves rather than doing things for them?
- And you can ask the manager:
- Are the care staff expected to do domestic chores such as cooking or cleaning, or are there separate staff for this?
- What training is available to the staff?
- Which staff have formal care qualifications?
During your visit have a look at the facilities available for your use in the
- Do the facilities seem well looked after?
- Do you like the decoration? Would you feel comfortable living there?
- Are the furnishings and fittings homely and in good condition?
- Has the care home got up-to-date equipment for the needs of the residents, for example, a lift, grab-rails, bathroom hoists?
- Meals are an important aspect of the service provided in the care home:
- Can you look at copies of previous menus?
- Do the meals seem nutritious?
- Is the menu varied and interesting?
- Can you choose what to eat?
Are there any organised leisure activities, perhaps by an activity coordinator in the care home involving, for example, arts and crafts, games, days out?
Can you choose to take part in these activities?
How would you be involved in planning and organising these activities?