Once you have decided which type of care home your elderly loved one needs and drawn up a list of criteria you will find there are a lot of other things to consider. Don’t worry about asking too many questions when you look round a home. It is sensible to do as much research as possible when you are making such a life changing decision. If you are able to, speak to some of the residents at the home or better still their relatives. They will be able to give you a realistic view about what it is like to live there. You can also have a look at the website of the Care Quality Commission who are the regulatory body for care homes and hospitals to find out more information.
When looking around a care or nursing home use your eyes and nose. First impressions really do count and if the home doesn’t smell pleasant then you are probably in the wrong place for your relative. Look at the décor. Is the home well maintained? Look at the people. Are the staff smiling and interacting with residents and more importantly, are the residents smiling and engaged in what is happening around them?
Questions to ask when considering a care home for your relative
- In what circumstances would your relative be asked to leave and what would happen if they run out of funds?
- How does the home handle complaints? Is there a residents” committee and a relative’s group?
- What would happen if your relative becomes ill and needs more care? Would they have to move?
- Will your relative be offered a choice of meals and can they choose when and where they eat?
- What is their policy for end of life care?
- Does the room have an en-suite bathroom? Is it suitable to meet your relative’s needs?
- Is there a TV and telephone point in the room?
- Does the home offer activities and an entertainment programme?
- Is there a garden?
- Can your relative keep their GP and manage their own medication if they want to?
When I was looking for a care home for my elderly mother, I didn’t just accept what I was told. I probed a bit further. For example I might say in response to something the home purported to do by asking ” Can you explain to me how you do this?”
It is important to check with the home whether they are able to meet your relative’s specific care needs such as dementia or incontinence and how they manage the progression of these and other conditions. If your relative has a condition that is likely to deteriorate, ask what their policy is when needs increase.
Finally, ask for a copy of the care home’s most recent inspection report and a copy of their Statement of Purpose. This sets out their aims and objectives and the services and facilities the home offers.
When you have finished you need to ask the most important question of all. Would I like to live in this home myself? Keep looking if the answer is no!