Going into a care home can be one of the most difficult transitions anyone has to make. It can also be traumatic for the whole family. In addition, it’s often hard to know how the care system works or what to do first.
Many people also find that their NHS and local authority are less than proactive in providing accurate guidance and advice.
In addition, when you consider the risk of care homes going out of business, the whole decision can be daunting. The recent news about Southern Cross Healthcare’s financial difficulties, potentially affecting over 30,000 care home residents, highlights once again how vulnerable elderly people can be.
Finding the right care home can be a tricky business. That’s why, when you’re looking for one, it’s vital to do your research – and to find out as much as you can about what it’s really like to live in any given home.
Official inspection reports don’t always reflect the day-to-day quality of care
By law, adult health and social care providers such as care homes, must ensure they meet essential quality and safety standards. Official care quality guidelines also state that care planning should build in measures to prevent health and welfare problem occurring.
The Care Quality Commission carries out regular inspections of care homes, but these inspections are generally ‘regulatory. It means they check on the ‘processes’ in place in a care home such as record keeping, medicine storage, window safety and food handling.
Unfortunately, these official inspections don’t always reflect the day-to-day standards of care, humanity and health that elderly residents actually experience.
For example, there are ‘rules’ about food handling and food hygiene but, astonishingly, no clear guidelines about the level of beneficial nutrients in care home food.
Pressure sores are also, sadly, a common problem for care home residents, as are malnutrition and dehydration. And yet, with proper training for staff, these dangerous situations would be much less likely to develop in the first place.
So remember, it’s vital to do your research before you sign a care home contract. To help you, we’ve produced a practical guide, How To Choose A Care Home. It shows you where to start, what to do, what to ask and who to talk to. It’s packed with the less obvious questions to ask care home staff and management when you first visit – and it means you get a more in-depth impression of what the home will really be like and enables you to make a better decision. How To Choose A Care Home.