By Nikky Ruskin
Choosing a residential home is a difficult task for any person; before you even start looking at homes you go through a range of emotions of whether it is the right decision for your loved one and your family. Depending on the reasons for making the decision, it can bring out a range of emotions, guilt, sadness, and worry to name a few. The media also makes the decision hard due to all the nightmare stories in the press about neglect, abuse etc. placing further doubts in your mind.
To help you through this process we've produced a list of key points that we would recommend you look into before choosing the home that meets your close ones needs.
- Review the CQC Inspection Reports - check the date and the management information are still valid. A home can change vastly when a new manager takes over.
- Carry out as many unannounced visits at a range of times.
- Take your loved one with you, how do they react to the home, how do staff treat them?
- Ask questions during those visits, do not be led around.
- Are Care Plans available to family to review without supervision?
- Does the home have staff trained in the specialist care needs of your family member?
- What activities take place during the day/evening/weekend and frequency?
- What facilities are available to residents - hairdresser, chiropodist, access to on-site medical care?
- Does the home provide any day trips, if so what is the frequency?
- Are there any outside facilities? Do residents have free access to outside if so how do staff monitor who is out there and who isn't?
- Are pets allowed?
- How are children reacted to in the home when visiting?
- What Food Hygiene Rating does the home have? What range of food is provided on a daily basis? Is there a choice? How frequently is the weekly menu changed?
- Is there enough staff to cover 1:1 care if a resident becomes ill to help provided the basic care of food, drink etc.
- What are the security systems in place at the home?
- Does the home have a key carer system?
- If you have concerns how do you raise them?
- What involvement does family members have with how the care home is run and activities that take place - meetings/newsletters?
- Does the home recognise special occasions in a residents life, do they celebrate them and how?
The list is to be used as a guide, there will be many more questions you want answers to and proof of those given.
The one key point to make is, this is your loved one, don't be afraid to ask questions and keeping asking until you are happy with the responses given.