Making the decision to move into care home is never an easy feat, and I imagine that if you are reading this post you’ve spent may hours, days, sometimes even weeks’ worth of time thinking about if this is the right move for you or your family members. For some it may be something you have avoided thinking about at all, and let’s face it, who can blame you. With regards to care homes all we seem to see in the media is negative news and worrying stories, particularly since the COVID-19 pandemic.
So how do you go about choosing the right home? Are home tours available? How do I go about finding out what a place is like? Today I’m going to try and answer a few questions and a few hints and tips for choosing the right care home for you.
Let me start by saying that currently most care homes, us included, are not allowing tours and ‘look rounds’ of the care home. Usually we would allow people to come and look round the home and get a feel for the place, however presently the risk to yourselves, the residents of the home and the staff of the home is too high to even begin to re-offer this service. Still, here is a little tip for when things do return to normal: try to visits places unannounced and without booking an appointment, that way you can see what a place is like without everyone rushing round to have a good tidy beforehand. Having a book for a tour under usual circumstances may raise alarm bells that there is some cleaning or acting going on.
Not being able to tour a place can make it difficult to begin to see what a place is like and unfortunately means you have to rely on alternate methods. Here are a few ways you can do this:
Facebook – a lot of care homes now have a Facebook page set up, this will tend to have pictures of activities and events going on in the home and will usually give you a feel on the home is. A few questions you can ask yourself whilst browsing are:
Not only can the pictures speak a thousand words, you will often see comments from family, friends, even residents of the home and get an impression of the home.
CQC – Did you know the independent body that regulates care homes is CQC. The CQC will inspect homes on a schedule, usually dependant on the home’s current ratings, and compose a report based on their findings. They usually inspect over a day or two, but they do require constant information on ways you are working in the home, along with investigating any complaints or concerns raised to them. You can find the report by searching on the internet. Here’s our most recent report: https://www.cqc.org.uk/sites/default/files/new_reports/INS2-6052210671.pdf
Carehome.co.uk – This is a website which carries a comprehensive list of care homes throughout the country. The good thing about this website is it lets family members, friends and even residents post reviews and opinions on the care home, all of which are vetted for authenticity so people can not falsify good or bad reviews to alter score of the care home. Here is our carehome.co.uk page: https://www.carehome.co.uk/carehome.cfm/searchazref/72696
Virtual tour - Some care homes have also done a virtual tour of the building and environment, I have seen a few of these around now and think they are fantastic in showing off the premises, it really helps to see the bed rooms, gardens and communal living areas. You can find ours on the home page of the website and by clicking on this link here
When looking for a care home, do not be scared to keep ringing, the staff should be happy to help you with any questions or queries, no matter how many pop into your head, particularly at a time when face to face contact and tours aren’t available.
I would like to finish by saying I know it is a worrying time to be thinking about moving into a care home, given the COVID-19 pandemic but homes should now have robust policies, procedures and risk assessments in place for communal living and admissions to homes. These should be available for you to see, along with details on testing or COVID status. Please don’t be afraid to ask to see these you have a right to know how you will be protected!