nursing_home_careHow to choose a care home – part 2

As I’ve said, this is a very hard thing to advise on.  Moving into a care home is effectively moving home and where people feel “at home” is a matter of choice.

So picking up from the last blog, hopefully you have asked about the activities of the care home, seen around the grounds and asked if the residents can go out.

Also ask about staff turnover, how long have the staff been there?  A stable set of staff is a good indication of good conditions and happy staff.  The theory is that happy staff should hopefully take good care of residents.

I’ve been told by a member of an ambulance crew that the most telling time to see a care home is 7am, but having said that, the home are probably not going to be pleased to see you there then!

Ask about visitors, when will you be able to see your loved one?  Can you stay for meals, can you stay overnight?  If you stay for a meal, do you have to pay?  If you stay for lunch every now and again and have to pay for the extra meals it is a bit nitpicky!! Care home are profit making organisations, and if you stay for lots of meals, then paying for them makes more sense, but is does not give a strong caring vibe.  What do you feel the balance between profit and care is?

Ask about the local GP, as they may well need to change GPs.  You can always ring the local GP surgery and speak to one of the nurses or GPs there (if they will take your call).

Having visited the home you should check out the CQC website and see the last inspection reports (you can do this either before or after the visit).  What do the reports say?  Is there an area within the home where the inspection found unsatisfactory?

Once you’ve read the report and visited the home, then just have a think about your overall impression.  Choosing a home is not so much a cognitive exercise as an emotional one.  What is important is not just what you think about the home, but how you feel about it!