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Nightmare care home visits!

Discussion in 'Middle - later stages of dementia' started by snowygirl, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. snowygirl

    snowygirl Registered User

    Jan 9, 2014
    Yesterday my siblings and I got together to look at care homes for my dad as he is currently in assessment and we need to find him a home. It was such a tiring and emotional day and I've been left with so many worries about it all and at the end of it all we still didn't find a home and ended up squabbling amongst ourselves something we really shouldn't do at this time.

    I wonder if anyone can answer a few questions

    1) What is 'locked door' policy as dad's social worker said to look out for this as a plus but all the homes we visited locked their front door as expected. Could she mean locking the doors of individual rooms as one of the best homes did this to prevent people walking into the wrong rooms and they opened them for the residents as and when they wanted to go into their rooms. I found this a bit odd and imagined dad waiting for ages to get into his room. Is this a recommended procedure?
    2) Should alarm bells be ringing is straight after lunch ALL the residents in another home were sitting around the outside of a lounge watching TV or sleeping and no-one was walking around or even in the garden on a sunny day? We liked this home but when my brother returned at 7 again no-one was around and he was told that everyone had gone to their rooms(17 people)and the TV in the lounge was off and the 'visitors lounge' had the door closed. This made us think that there was a regime here but could we be worrying too much?

    This is all such a minefield and pressure is mounting on us to move dad but although he has been in assessment for 4 weeks as we were told he was in respite for 2 and then only attended an assessment meeting last week weve only been researching for just the past week. Its all happened so quickly and none of us live close to each other or to mum and dad so how does anyone sort this out???? I'm sorry to ramble but my dad doesn't deserve this and if my mum didn't have dementia he would be at home with her and not going into a home yet so we need to fine the right one. I'm just so confused right now. Grateful for any replies.
  2. Shedrech

    Shedrech Volunteer Moderator

    Dec 15, 2012
    #2 Shedrech, Sep 20, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
    Personally I don't like the sound of 2) either - dad's on a dementia floor and each resident comes and goes as they please (within the confines of the floor) - so some may be in the lounge but others are wandering or in their own room at ALL times of the day and night. I don't see how they could run a curfew, there would be uproar.

    Not sure what the phrase 'locked door' means - but again on dad's floor; he has a key so can lock his own door (more and more he forgets to) - there is a note on the door of each resident whether it is to be locked night and day so the resident asks for it to be opened (I guess to stop others going in uninvited - from what I see the staff are pretty prompt at opening doors on request) - or left open for the resident to come and go (which does mean that others go in at times) - and the main door to the floor has a key pad (other floors are open) as does the outside door to the whole home. Each room has a door turnlock inside so the resident can lock their own door when in their room without needing a key (but staff have a master key and can get in at all times) and each door has a notice on which can read 'I may be in or out, but knock before you come in' or 'Do not disturb'.
  3. Patricia Alice

    Patricia Alice Registered User

    Mar 2, 2015
    Hi Snowygirl,

    Looking at homes and finding the right one is a minefield.

    All good homes will have have a 24hr visit policy, some will let you eat there if you book a meal. The locked door policy I think is the main door and also the doors exiting the floor if it's a dementia floor, which they would normally give the family the code to get in and out. The rooms at my mom's two homes were locked due to the residents confusing their rooms and taking things not belonging to them; we just needed to ask the carer for a key. The rooms themselves have handles on that the resident if in the room can open from the inside but is locked from the outside.

    Also, we asked the question, because our mom walks about constantly, and they said no problem, they can get up when they want and go to bed when they want, no restrictions.

    You need to sit down and write a list of questions about the things that have bothered you so far like the rooms, the TV lounge, access to the garden etc.

    I hope this helps a little
  4. Witzend

    Witzend Registered User

    Aug 29, 2007
    SW London
    #4 Witzend, Sep 20, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
    At my mother's CH the front door was always locked - we had to be buzzed in. However nothing else was locked - there was free access everywhere all the time, including the garden during the day - mind you the garden was level and safe and completely enclosed.

    I must say I don't like the idea of bedrooms being locked during the day, though I can see why they might think it necessary in a home that takes both dementia and non dementia residents. A CH is supposed to be the person's home, and in your home you do not have your bedroom locked during the day. Of course when it comes to dementia you will often have people wandering into other people's rooms, or helping themselves to this and that, and some relatives do get very steamed up and indignant, but I think it's just something you have to accept in an all-dementia home. TBH I think it often upsets the relatives far more than the residents themselves.

    As for everybody sitting about indoors on a sunny day, I can see exactly why this might be off putting, but to be honest, except when there were activities, and except for the 'pacers', it was often the case in my mother's very good specialist dementia home. I would see the odd person in the garden (often someone looking for a way out!) but mostly, except for organised trips, they did not want to go out even if it was suggested. After the first few weeks my mother never did - on a nice day I would suggest taking a tray with tea outside - she had been a great garden lover - but she wouldn't want to go. I think many of them just felt safer and more comfortable indoors.
  5. marionq

    marionq Registered User

    Apr 24, 2013
    I agree it is difficult to find a CH which fits your idea of what is suitable. I also found online reviews completely useless giving high marks for trivial aspects and missing the important aspects. Two out of three homes I saw did not smell at all while the most modern one stank unbelievably. I could not have visited much less have lived in it.

    The one I liked had locked outside doors but free movement everywhere inside the building including through doors to the garden. In the end I held out for the one with the long waiting list and still waiting!

    John is more subdued recently so not so much of a wandering risk and need for CH not so urgent.

    Good luck.
  6. jaymor

    jaymor Volunteer Moderator

    Jul 14, 2006
    My husband is one of 9 men on a floor in a challeng behaviour nursing home. There are three keypads to the home with 3 different numbers. One on the outside door, one to operate the lift to floor 1 and 2 and then another to access the floor. The doors to the garden are open and floor 1 and 2 have the residents taken down by the carers. All bedroom doors are left unlocked so can be accessed at any time of day. Things goung missing are not such a problem because a) only four men are mobile and b) having only 9 bedrooms, finding things is not too difficult.

    The men are helped to get ready for bed at around 8.30 but they are not put to bed, when they go is up to them. My husband when mobile, rarely went to bed. He sat drinking tea and eating toast all night and going to the laundry to help push the trolley back. There is no get up time either. They like to complete showers and breakfast before lunchtime but it is not set in stone and must be done. It is home to the 9 men and in a way to me too.

    Would I like to live there, yes. Three years ago we looked at over 20 homes and got it down to three. One I was really impressed by but they did not take challenging behaviour. This week that same home is plastered across the local newspapers for really abysmal care and threats of closing it to new residents. We just have to do our best and hope we get it right. You never know until you are receiving the care.

    I hope you can find somewhere that is acceptable to you all, it is such a difficult time.
  7. Beate

    Beate Registered User

    May 21, 2014
  8. Quilty

    Quilty Registered User

    Aug 28, 2014
    In my Mums CH the front door has a keypad for controlled entry. Th residents have a choice about locking their doors when they leave their room or when they are in their room. My Mum has a key to her room and likes to be able to keep her private space secure.

    Hardly anyone uses the garden - really only a few of the residents. There is open visiting. The home is a bit worn round the edges but the staff are loving and caring which is the most important. Most residents sit in the lounge just watching the comings and goings. Hardly anyone watches TV even when its on.

    I looked for a caring place. It didnt matter if it was new and modern. Staff that laughed and joked with the residents.
  9. snowygirl

    snowygirl Registered User

    Jan 9, 2014
    Thanks you for your answers it seems there are many ways to deal with the front doors and the individual doors it just depends on the home. I must ask some more in depth questions of the homes we thought were ok especially if dad can have his own key to his own room. We are also looking at different areas now but its hard when mum wants to visit but with her dementia its likely they may end up in the same one one day!
  10. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Hi snoweygirl.
    Mum is in a Ch with a "locked door" policy. It doesnt mean their own room doors are locked, it just means that the front door in locked both coming in and going out so that residents cant wander outside. Having a lock on their own door and them having a key sounds like a good idea, but mum would be constantly losing it. All the rooms in mums CH are unlocked at all times, though the carers dont just barge in - they knock first.
    Mums CH has 2 lounges, one with a telly in although it often has music playing and the other is a "quiet" room. There is also a garden that they can go into during daylight hours, but I have found that most of them just stay indoors. There are activities in the morning and after dinner most of them just want to sleep. Mum still wanders around during the night, so she often sleeps during the day. It seems to be that as dementia progresses more and more sleep is required.
    Look out for calm and compassionate carers who know how to deal with the awkward customer and a friendly, homely atmosphere. This is far, far more important than beautiful decorations.

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