Thursday, June 19, 2014

Choosing a Care Home for Elderly Parents

This past month I have been doing the unenviable task of finding a care home for my elderly mother. She moved into a bungalow 2 years ago but at 83 years old she can now no longer look after herself. There were one or two incidents in the past few months which convinced me that now was the right time to consider full time residential care in a nursing home.

My search started in the area she lives. I began with some recommendations from her GP and also included nearby care homes found on a care homes directory and Google. I am the sort of person who researches things online far too much. For things like gadgets I often think this is a waste of my time, but in this case I obviously wanted the very best. So I had no issues with spending hours and hours searching for reviews and any comments I could find in discussion forums and blogs.

After calling 11 homes in the area I decided that I wanted to view 4 of them. So I visited and had a chat with the manager at each. I was shown around the homes and the rooms. One of the homes was very drab, another wasn't really suitable and the two left were about even. One was slightly more modern but the staff I encountered in the other seemed nicer.

In the end I settled on Agnes and Arthur Care home in Chell. This home wasn't the most impressive from the outside but the interior was great and the staff seemed very friendly. Also the residents themselves seemed in good spirits which is one of the things on my little checklist (see below).

Anyway we are just tying up loose ends now and have Mum booked in to Agnes and Arthur soon. After a lot of searching around I feel like we have found her the ideal place to reside in a safe and friendly environment. In case you need to find a care home I have pasted in my checklist which I used to make notes on for the homes I called and visited.

Choosing a care home checklist

  1. Suitability of care - different homes offer different types of care e.g. dementia so this is the first thing to ask about. I was able to immediately cross a few homes off my list by calling and asking about what types of care they cater for.
  2. Reviews and ratings - Not many people leave reviews of care homes but if you search hard enough online you will fine some feedback in places like care home directories, Google reviews and possibly forums or blogs. Obviously you need to take reviews with a pinch of salt sometimes as some may be fake, so I only really take note if there is a variety of opinions about a place. This can be a good way to highlight specific problems though e.g. I learnt one home had poor plumbing.
  3. Accommodation size - This one speaks for itself, I wanted somewhere which wasn't too big like a hospital or hotel which I imagine would have less of a cosy and community feeling.
  4. Nursing and care quality - Do they have full time nursing staff or just care assistants? Are they using new technology to improve health care? e.g. from my research I found that there are now more efficient computer and machine based medication dispensing and tracking methods.
  5. Attitude of staff - Are they helpful and friendly and happy to answer any concerns?
  6. Residents well-being - Do the residents seem happy and well looked after?
  7. Cost - Private sector only or public funding too?
  8. Location - Close enough for friends and family to visit?
  9. Activities - Does the home have a comprehensive range of activities and sense of community?
  10. Facilities - Are the furnishings modern and clean? Are there any useful mod cons like flatscreen TVs and stair lifts? Is there a nice garden area?

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