Search our directory to find everything from a new dress to finding a local plumber.
WHAT'S ON THIS WEEK
Choosing Residential Care
by Barry Lambert
Barry Lambert considers what to look for when choosing a care home
Selecting the right care home for a loved one or relative can be a daunting and emotional process, often wrapped in guilt and confusion about how to make the right choice. Good-quality care that preserves dignity, treats people with respect and promotes independence improves the lives of care-home residents When the time arises, it’s important to review the care requirements of the person needing care, and this can be achieved by consulting a health-care professional. Once an assessment has been carried out, they will be able to make recommendations on the most suitable type of care home.
Barry Lambert is Director of The Tunbridge Wells Care
Centre in Tunbridge Wells and Barty House Nursing Home in Maidstone, Kent. The Tunbridge Wells Care Centre offers care for the elderly frail and specialist dementia care. For more information, call the Tunbridge Wells Care Centre on 01892 618721, or visit www.tunbridgewells-carecentre.co.uk. For more information about Barty House, call the home on 01622 737025, or visit www.bartyhouse.co.uk
There are different types of care-home providers – some catering for the needs of the elderly frail, others offering specialist dementia care, some offering a combination of both. Matching the needs of the individual to the best type of home will ensure time can be concentrated on finding the most appropriate providers, and it is always a good idea to view as many homes as possible for comparison purposes. The Care Quality Commission (CQC – www.cqc.org.uk – see special feature) can provide lists of local care homes, or, if a specialist dementia home is needed, check with a doctor/social worker, or consult specialist organisations, such as the Alzheimer’s Society (www.alzheimers.org.uk).
If you’re looking for a home on behalf of someone with dementia, plan to view it on your own first – only bring the potential resident with you once you’ve determined that it might be suitable for them, as this will lessen stress and confusion for them. Other research includes checking inspection reports, which give a clear indication of how the home operates (the care home itself or the CQC should be able to provide).
It may also help to take a check list of what’s important to the person requiring care. For example, will taking the family pet enhance the overall well-being of the individual? A good home should offer individual, tailored care plans – flexibility is key.
Specialist dementia care
In the UK, approximately 750,000 people have dementia and residential care provides a home for one-third of these individuals.*
In order for care homes to deliver specialist dementia care, they require specially-trained nursing staff. The needs of the individual living with dementia differ greatly from those requiring nursing or elderly care, and the differences should be explained fully during the site visit.
Try to ask as many questions about the type of care offered and speak to as many members of staff and residents as possible, as this should give a good overall impression.
Look for subtle things, such as the positioning of chairs – if they’re in groups, it’s very likely the home promotes social interaction. Ask, too, about the activities on offer and their frequency. Good homes should invest time developing a daily programme of events (with participation voluntary) in consultation with its residents.
Check a variety of activities is on offer, from crafts to dominoes and sing-along sessions – a diverse offering will enrich lives.
Most homes should encourage residents to bring in personal belongings to further help create a home-from-home feel, and some may even allow pieces of furniture.
As well as care standards, the facilities should also be considered. If the individual uses a wheelchair, check there’s adequate access throughout the home and out to the garden and other social areas.
Be sure, too, to ask about the kind of meals offered, and check the home can cater for any special dietary requirements or preferences the individual might have.
Cleanliness offers an immediate indication of the home’s standards, and it is also important to visualise whether you could see your loved one being happy at the home – does it create the right atmosphere?
Overall, the best indication of a good home is that the residents seem happy, relaxed and responsive, and show every sign of being treated with dignity and respect.
Are we giving you the articles you want?
Do you have an idea for an article? Are there subjects you would like to see discussed in Index Magazine? If so please enter your idea into the form below.