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Choosing a Care Home....!

Discussion in 'I care for a person with dementia' started by rainbowcat, Sep 20, 2019.

  1. rainbowcat

    rainbowcat Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    (NOTE: my father will be partially self-funding, with the local authority picking up the rest)

    After a long battle with social services, care angencies, etc, including many falls and yet another spell in hospital (nothing broken, thankfully!), I have finally won the war and Dad has been found a place in 2 different care homes!! I have to visit them this weekend so that he can be discharged and rehoused ASAP - likely to be before next weekend if he's accepted by the one I choose.

    And I don't know what I'm doing! I've read the online stuff, including the latest CQC reports. I know I need to go and view and talk to the manager...but I don't know what I should be asking! Or looking FOR! What are the signs of a good home? A bad one? I know to look past decor, and I won't worry if anything's a little "well-loved", but how far past do I look?

    Plus there's the questions that I feel a bit daft asking, but I am going in blind having never done this before... do they supply all the bedding? Towels? Rise-Recline chair in room? Shower chair? Wheelchair??

    I'm going to wade through the previous care home choosing advice threads, but I don't have a lot of time before travelling on Sunday morning (I have to give an answer on Monday and I only heard about them today), so if anyone could give me pointers as to what I am supposed to be looking for, looking at, and asking, I would be most grateful! :)
  2. Jale

    Jale Registered User

    Jul 9, 2018
    Hi Rainbowcat,

    Mum is in a nursing home so not sure if the same things will apply but here goes -We didn't make an appointment when we went to view the home that mum is in, we just turned up and we were made very welcome. If possible talk to visitors and ask how their loved ones are, settled, happy, well cared for? Many many years ago my great aunt was in a home and it always smelt of pee, even though the place was clean so that would be a no no for me if looking at a home. Does the home have activities - mum's does, sometimes she will join in sometimes not.
    Mum's home supplies the bedding, but you can take your own as long as it can be washed and dried, we have to provide towels, flannels, toiletries etc so make sure that everything is labelled with your Dad's name (we have sew on labels). There was an armchair in Mum's room, but we took her own rise/recliner in, even though she doesn't use it, but we did have to provide the fire safety certificate for the home's records. The home provided a wheelchair that will stay with Mum until the inevitable happens, although again I think you can use your own if you have one. Shower chairs are provided by the home as are the hoists.
    I think you get a gut feeling about something - we did and so far (fingers crossed) it has not let us down.
    I'm sure more experienced people will be along to offer advice, and if anything else comes to mind I will post it.
  3. Louise7

    Louise7 Registered User

    Mar 25, 2016
  4. northumbrian_k

    northumbrian_k Registered User

    Mar 2, 2017
  5. Banjomansmate

    Banjomansmate Registered User

    Jan 13, 2019
    We wanted to see what the food was like and made sure to visit around lunchtime. This was a Godsend as one smaller Care Home had meals cooked off premises by a contractor, a definite No no!

    You also need to know if they are prepared to keep your father to the end of his life even when he deteriorates. From being mobile when he arrived 8 months ago The Banjoman now needs hoisting to get him into and out of a chair etc. and the GP has been preparing a Care Plan with input from me and the home Manager . Basically it is an ”end of life” plan as he will not be sent to hospital for anything except a major fracture, anything else will be discussed with me and decisions made accordingly. I know the staff are willing to see him through to the inevitable end.
  6. DesperateofDevon

    DesperateofDevon Registered User

    Jul 7, 2019
    Visit the homes, & see how the staff interact with the residents. Dads care home showed us around everywhere, rooms, garden, bathrooms, kitchen the different spaces ie dining rooms, private spaces available for family meals & visits. They had a monthly planner available to all so you could see how each day was broken into activities & refreshments & meals. There was also a weekly meal plan available to all.
    Dads care home-
    Cup of tea & a biscuit first thing in bed with tablets.
    Breakfast - choice of porridge/ full English / continental/ cereal/ toast/ yogurt / fruit/ boiled egg/ poached - which could be had in one of the dining rooms or in the PWD room.
    Mid morning coffee/ tea & biscuit
    Lunch -starter, choice of main meals seasonal & complete with voice of veg. Choice of puddings. Wine if wanted & choice of juices/ water.
    Mid- afternoon tea/ coffee & biscuits
    Celebration cake - Birthday cake if it’s a residents birthday/wedding anniversary.
    Tea - soup, sandwiches, etc & a pudding.
    Bed time supper if required, ie- cereal, egg on toast etc
    Bedtime drink - hot chocolate, milk & biscuit

    Dad will never manage all that we thought!

    Fruit & juice/ water available throughout the day, other snacks such as ice lollies on hot days, crisps etc are also provided.

    Activities, social events, day trips out. All optional to join in but available

    Dads home is a little well worn shall we say, but the staff & level of care are outstanding & have been awarded outstanding by the CQC.

    Residents are encouraged to make their rooms homelike, I bought duvet covers & cushions & throws to personalise Dads room. Towels & linen are provided, as well as all bathroom products.

    No where is perfect but watching how the staff interact with residents & each other will give you an idea of the environment.

    Let us know how you get on
  7. Nigel_2172

    Nigel_2172 Registered User

    Aug 8, 2017
    Look out for a relatives comments book / facebook page. Try and speak to staff other than just the manager and ask about turnover of staff. I know it's not conclusive but longstanding staff may point towards a more settled home.
  8. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    The CH will have assessed your dad presumably so are confident they can meet his needs, but you should still discuss his behaviours with the manager to ensure you are both on the same page.

    I wasn't a member of this forum when I chose my mother's care home 18 months ago - so, like you, I had no idea what I was doing. I chose a couple via carehome.co.uk. by looking at the reviews and CQC reports.

    But from there, I chose by instinct. I know some members visit multiple CHs before finding one, but I only visited two, because I had such a good feeling about the first one. When I walked in there was a welcoming pleasant atmosphere and the staff were cheerful - and there were plenty of them. All the senior staff had been there donkeys years and the owner worked on site. Residents seemed content, clean, well dressed. Oh - and no smell of wee. The only smells were lunch/cleaning agents. I thought - "if I had to live here myself, would that be okay?" - and decided it would.

    In terms of what they supply, it will differ between CHs. I am sure they have basics like shower chairs, not sure about riser-recliners - ask. I took my mother's towels in, and also bought her some bedding and pillows (Dunelm). But that was optional, the CH provided both, so it was just to make her room look more 'homely'. Be prepared for the bedrooms to look very basic - but that changes once you get all their stuff in there.

    Most important - you MUST label absolutely everything. I don't sew so I used iron-on labels for clothing, and Stick-ins (Amazon) for other stuff like photo frames, shoes, cuddly toys. If your dad wears glasses, find a way of labelling those or they will disappear.

    Good luck, and trust your instincts.
  9. rainbowcat

    rainbowcat Registered User

    Oct 14, 2015
    Thanks everyone! I'm as ready as I will be now :)

    I phoned both homes early afternoon today to ask preliminary questions prior to me visiting, but neither of them had a manager or other person in charge working today who could talk to me. Also neither will have a manager working after midday tomorrow, which means I have to set off extremely early to visit both homes tomorrow, otherwise I can't see a manager. And no, there's no one else who could have helped today and no one else who can help tomorrow - I did ask.

    Fingers crossed for a productive day tomorrow!
  10. Rosserk

    Rosserk Registered User

    Jul 9, 2019

    It’s very common for the care home manager not to work weekends so don’t look at that as a bad sign. If you can’t manage to go weekdays you could telephone, most care home managers will always talk on the phone. Good luck hope all goes well x
  11. Sirena

    Sirena Registered User

    Feb 27, 2018
    It's unfortunate the LA expects you to make these decisions over the weekend as managers rarely work weekends. Good luck today.

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