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 Care Campaign For The Vulnerable

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is learning of the pressures faced by conscientious led Care Providers striving to offer a caring and safe environment to both service users and staff. Safety monitoring is proving to be a invaluable care assist tool - bringing a more open and transparent culture into care homes as well as saving valuable resources within the care home sector and the NHS

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10 Key Points When Choosing A Care Home

27th April 2017

Families contact Care Campaign for the Vulnerable giving tips on what to look for when placing a loved one in a care home

It's the moment you dread. So far it has been manageable keeping your loved one, who lives with dementia at home and without doubt home is often the best option. But if they can no longer cope or no longer safe to keep at home, you may need to consider residential or a nursing care home

When starting to look for a care home, the first thing to know is the home equipped to really offer the right care for your relative. Loved ones that need moderate to advanced 24-hour nursing care will require a nursing home or loved ones at an early stage may require residential. Your loved one may start living in residential care but then his/her care needs may change after a few years and therefore will need nursing care needs. You will need to talk over with your loved one's GP and social care workers/CPN when the time comes.

Always choose more than one care homes to view.

This can be overwhelming - but you will need to view at least four or five to make comparisons.

Turn up unannounced.

If you telephone care homes to make an appointment, they WILL prepare. Turn up first thing in the morning 0900am or later in the early evening at 6 pm. The manager might not be around, but in my opinion, managers rarely matter when it comes to caring. It's the CARERS who count. Do you get a good feeling when watching them with residents? Are they smiley and attentive? Talk to them. Ask why they became carers and in conversation ask a few questions about dementia and test their knowledge without being too obvious.

How does the home smell?

This might seem irrelevant. But in fact, this is VERY important. If you smell a strong odour, urine etc, this could mean residents are not being changed regularly or the hygiene/ cleaning levels are low.

Are the staff interacting with residents. How are the carers with the dementia residents? Are they talking to them? Engaging with them? How many carers are there for every five residents. Are they being stimulated? Are they sitting round in a circle with no activities to do? Try and talk to the residents. Just because they have dementia doesn't mean they can't always communicate. If you can ask a family member do they like it at the home?

Trained in dementia care

All care workers should be fully trained, ideally an NVQ or have completed 6 monthly full training days. Ask them have they completed the Virtual Dementia Tour? This is a company that tours homes and trains carers in what it's actually like to have dementia. Don't be embarrassed to ask. It's so important carers know the different stages of dementia. Do your homework and if the carers don't know these facts... it is probably not the right home.

What is the MENU like and how often is it changed? Food is the highlight of the day for most older people and for those with dementia nutrition is vital so a diet needs to be stable and regular with good, fresh wholesome food. I have experienced homes that have a chef and is likened to a five-star hotel but the food is of poor quality. Ensure the home cater for your loved ones taste. Try and talk to the chef and visit the kitchen. Tell the chef/cook the food your loved one likes and if they are eager to implement this in the care home menu. Ask if you can bring food in at times as a treat for your loved ones. This should be happily accepted by the home and if not I would worry if they are too regimented.

Read the compliments/complaints book.

Ask to see this book. If they say they don't have one. Ask why? CQC Report

The CQC (Care Quality Commission) is a governing body that inspects all care homes in the UK. CQC have inspectors that go into care homes unannounced to check the quality of safety and care but like any organisation the CQC are not without fault. If it's a local home you are looking at ask neighbours and friends.

Visit in the evening

Ask the home can you visit in the evening. If they say no, reconsider. A routine visit in the evening can reassure your loved one. This is supposed to be your loved one's home. So you should always feel welcome. You should have access any time day or night (within reason). Families say they witness more damning failings at night than day. Watch out for care homes that use agency staff regularly. Agency staff do not deliver consistent care to residents and so a high usage of agency care staff isn't good. Question why they need agency staff regularly - is there is a high turnover of staff? I would seriously doubt the quality of care. Agency staff tend not to build a rapport with your relative for bring consistent care. Staff generally come and go and work in many care homes which isn't a postive.

Placing your loved one in a care home is extremely daunting and upsetting. Check your contract if you are paying privately. Look over the eviction (period of notice the home can give and reasons for this to happen) No one will know your loved one like you and so keep an eye on food charts and ask if they are eating and drinking. Elderly living with dementia are prone to urinary tract infections and in my experience of care homes when there is a negative change in your loved one either aggressive or even physically challenging behaviour many carers/nurses overlook getting this checked (again this is where good training comes in ) UTI's are extremely common and often the reason for your loved ones change in behaviour. So make sure you understand what dementia is and all the accompanying symptoms that go along with it... and always remember,

Knowledge of dementia and the different stages is so important. Your loved one's care needs will change over time so when he/she arrive at the home care needs may not be high but over a period of time care needs may increase greatly. A good care home must achieve this correct consistent level of care so that your relative can continue to do well and enjoy a good quality of life and last but not least...

READ THE CONTRACT IF YOU ARE SIGNING ONE. READ THE SMALL PRINT AND THE PROVIDERS TERMS ABOUT EVICTION NOTICES.

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Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is learning of the pressures faced by conscientious led Care Providers striving to offer a caring and safe environment to both service users and staff. Safety monitoring is proving to be a invaluable care assist tool - bringing a more open and transparent culture into care homes as well as saving valuable resources within the care home sector and the NHS

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