Support for relatives from care homes.

lady racer

Registered User
Mar 12, 2007
northwest england

I am the manager of a unit for people with dementia, the care we give is
extremely good. I would like to broaden the support we give to relatives as i personally think they are as important as the client and often don't get the support they need. I would be grateful if relatives could give me more insight of how they feel and what they would expect or want from a nursing home should their relative need 24hour nursing care.


Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
It is nice to see that you are considering broadening your service to include the Carers. I can only speak for myself of course.

For me, the ultimate thing is good care for my relative (in my case, my Mum). This includes little things that may not seem important to the NH but which are important to the elderly. I do realise you can't take into account all the whims of the residents, but if something is easily and / or cheaply achieved, perhaps it is worth considering . . . . ??

Secondly, I like to be listened to if I have something I need to raise. I try NOT to talk to the staff or involve them if not necessary, because I know how busy they are. But if I do need something, I really appreciate being listened to.

The home Mum is in is very good. They also have 2 meetings a year for "Relatives and Carers" in which they give you updates of what has been / is happening, and answer questions as best they can.

When my Dad died at 3am, the staff on night duty that night behaved in the kindest and most supportive ways imaginable. (Hugs, hot drinks, toast . . . ) - this was so very much appreciated. We were treated by them as if they were part of our family. In times of trauma and loss, the reaction of the staff on duty at the time is paramount. (Unfortunately you can't teach compassion and empathy - we were just lucky that the people on duty that night were naturally that way.)

Good Luck with your project - it deserves every success.


Registered User
Aug 3, 2006
At last ther's hope

Hi Lady racer, seeing your post I felt compelled to forward my input.

As a husband who I placed my wife in a NH (to my shame) some five years ago I felt I'd little option but to remove her before I'd lost her. As it happened I'd almost left it too late. Now more than four years on, she's recovered from just over five stone to around eight and a half stone. Her preasure sores, oral trush and other illness have gone.

The main problem which I found that was stressful and exasperating, there appeared to be a complete lack of understanding of the relationship between a husband and wife who were then married 46yrs. Her pain was my pain, we are one. Yet, I was asked to leave her room when staff were about to change her pads. When I refused and asked why?: "For her dignity". I pointed out my wife had been doublely incontinent two years before entering a NH, who did they think was changing her then?

On another occasion while cutting her toenails a staff member popped her head around the door to say "Your not supposed to be doing that" and withdrew without an explanation or waiting for my answer.
Instead of co-opting my help I was left with the feeling that they were 'pulling us asunder', for who else would know my wife better than I?
I had to insist on knowing what medication she was on.

Finally I took on caring for her at the NH by changing and feeding her. It would take more than this post to point out the short comings in their system, when it came to the importance of understanding the roll of relatives in the welfare of loved ones it was totally lacking.

Most of my experiences during the twelve years of my wife's illness have left me with a deep lack of trust in the system. Accepting there's nothing anybody can do for her now (except maybe learn) I'm happy and content caring for her alone.

At least I'm able to help many other people on the otherside of the world over 11,000 people follow my story since Aug last year.

My best wishes to you, I think it's wonderful that your on the right track. Too late for us but others may benefit. Padraig


Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
Newport, Gwent
Hi Lady Racer

What a refreshing post to read, and how important your question is.

I am one of the very lucky ones, we found a fantastic NH for my mum, where the staff involve us every step of the way. Nothing is too much trouble for mum or for us.

However, there are so very many stories such as Padraig's, which always brings a lump to my throat. If you can do nothing else at your NH, simply ensure that nobody feels the way Padraig feels.

I'm not quite sure how you would tackle this one, but I feel (and it was something that was huge for me), how to get the message across that living in a NH is not just simply 'God's Waiting Room', and all dreadful places.

I'm not quite sure if this is an 'age' thing amongst some of us carers, and our loved ones. We have the legacy of knowledge of the old Mental Health Institutions. Before I actually visited some NH's, this was the image I had in my mind, prior to mum needing a NH, I had no knowledge of them at all.

Clearly you are very much on the right track, simply by asking what support carers want and need, truly very refreshing. Keep up the good work.


lady racer

Registered User
Mar 12, 2007
northwest england
support for relatives in care homes

From lady racer thankyou for your replies, it is a great help for me in the work i am doing and i have already gained more insight into how relatives are feeling, i am relaying that to my care team so we can make a difference how we see relatives and more importantly the way we work with relatives to make life better for all.

lady racer

Registered User
Mar 12, 2007
northwest england
supporting relatives in homes

Thanks Cate it is very refreshing to know that people are supporting me. I have worked in this field for 30 years, In them years i have learnt that the relatives are the most important person after the client, relatives are not listened to like they should be. I want to change that as i think they are very important to the care we give.


Registered User
Feb 24, 2006
What about those who have no relatives, or whose relatives are too far away or don't care?


Registered User
Mar 7, 2004
Lila, in a good care home the hands on paid carers often take the place of relatives, for those unfortunate enough not to have anyone of their own.

Where Lionel is I know how hard the staff work to make everyone feel well cared for, safe and secure. They not only give support to relatives, but really go all out to make the home feel like 'home' for everyone.

We were lucky when we found this place. I am sure there are lots more out there like it. Some days we only read the negative side of things.


Registered User
Oct 28, 2005
Cambridgeshire UK
Hi lady racer,

I can only praise the staff at the home where my husband is too. He's only been there since March but he's developed a very close relationship with one of the carers which she says can be a bit of a problem when she's off duty or off sick as she is now because he's not keen on doing anything for the other staff. When he was upset all the time when he first went there, they rang me if he was particularly upset and asking for me. I had told them, I'm only 2 miles away so they can ring me anytime. They rang me on Friday morning to tell me he had fallen late Thursday night and said how sorry they were (he had fallen asleep on the edge of his bed and 'dropped off the bed') and then they told me also that someone had torn a photo up of him and our granddaughter that was in his room and said how sorry they were. The manager was very kind when she told me on Friday that he had been in the garden, lifted all the manhole covers off and put stones down and blocked the whole system! It was me then saying sorry and they said it's fine!!! They had to have plumbers out but it was fine!!!