We are often asked which the ‘good care homes are?’ in a specific geographical area. We cannot answer this as everyone has unique needs, preferences and expectations. Finding the right care home for someone takes time, expertise and the ability to see things from the person’s perspective.
Relative Matters were asked to assist with a Bob who had become concerned about his Mother, Barbara who had returned home after a hospital stay and it had become evident very quickly that she was not coping. Bob had found a care home willing to take her at short notice, however, soon after she had moved in, Barbara was demanding to go home, her behaviour had become challenging and the home were not coping with her. During this time, Barbara was being assessed for a diagnosis of dementia and the Deprivation of Liberty (DOLs) team had been asked to be involved as the home were concerned that they were holding Barbara against her will.
We responded swiftly and assessed the situation from Barbara’s perspective and it was evident there were some memory and capacity issues. A full holistic assessment of her objective needs, her perceived needs, and her home environment were completed and through this process, it became apparent that she lacked capacity to make an informed decision to return home and was not actually concerned about going home. Barbara simply did not want to be in the home where she was.
After liaising with Bob, the DOLs team and the care home, it was agreed that it would be in Barbara’s best interests to move her to a care home that could meet her needs, and through meeting her needs, promote better behaviour patterns that could be managed in a more person centred way. A carefully drawn up profile was developed with Barbara of what she wanted from her next move. Once research had identified a specialist care home that could meet Barbara’s needs and preferences, she was escorted for a visit, so that she was fully involved in the process and then supported with the actual moving process.
The move was a complete success. We had ensured that the new care home was understanding of the behavioural aspects of Barbara’s dementia and were willing to work with her so that her needs could be met in a cohesive environment where she did not feel institutionalised, activities were interesting and she felt valued.
Finding a care home is easy if you use a ‘one size fits all approach’ but just like you and I will inevitably have different needs, preferences and expectations about where we live, older people are no different.
This post has drawn on work undertaken by Liz Tremlett. Liz works as one of Relative Matter’s Occupational Therapy (OT) Consultants. OT’s work with people to identify the difficulties they are experiencing in every day life and to work with the person to find ways to overcome these, in order to promote health and wellbeing.