What top questions would you ask when drawing up a care home shortlist for visits?

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Sparrows, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Sparrows

    Sparrows Registered User

    Sep 30, 2011
    Self explanatory really - I am taking the day off today and one of my jobs is to get on the phone to draw up a shortlist of care homes to visit. Here I go...about to make my first call.

    Any suggestions would be great.
  2. together

    together Registered User

    May 25, 2010
    Hi Sparrows
    I would visit unannounced and also try and visit at a weekend - preferably on a Sunday morning.Mum unfortunatley wasn't in the nursing home for long but I was appalled at the shortage of staff I encountered over weekends, especially Sunday mornings. Just try and use instinct but definitely visit if you can. Watch the interaction between staff and residents. Are doors open or closed? If you get chance talk to any of the relations there visiting. Good luck xx
  3. CeliaW

    CeliaW Registered User

    Jan 29, 2009
    Hi Sparrows - not an easy task I am sure but probably worth looking at individual reports on here http://www.cqc.org.uk/public/reports-surveys-and-reviews before phoning. Then you can refer to comments made etc and they know you are doing your homework.

    I would be inclined to ask questions about:

    How do they keep family/ relatives informed and involved?

    How often do they review care plans?

    How do they ensure that everyone has individual personalised care?

    What dementia awareness training etc do their staff have?

    Ratio of clients to staff inc at nights / weekends?

    I am sure there are plenty more but those come to mind immediately. I would also ask if it was OK to visit and talk to clients and their relatives.

    Good luck!

  4. Grommit

    Grommit Registered User

    Apr 26, 2006
    If I may suggest that you must have a very clear idea of what it is you want from a Care Home.

    It would not be helpful to compare the Home care with the care that you can give. In my searching for a Home i set the target at 80% of the care I could give.

    So far, I have not reached that target with any homes I have visited.

    I entirely agree with Together. Creep up on the homes and see them when they least expect it, such as mealtimes and bedtimes.

    Good hunting.
  5. Lizjg

    Lizjg Registered User

    Dec 29, 2011
    Near Newark / Grantam
    #5 Lizjg, Feb 20, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2013
    Hi I am currently looking for a care home for my mum. My main question is, can they cope with somebody with sever dementia, because if they can't the care home will be no good for her. I'm off to look a couple on Monday with my dad and not looking forwards to it.
  6. Sparrows

    Sparrows Registered User

    Sep 30, 2011
    Well so far I only managed four calls before it all became a bit overwhelming.

    But they were all very happy for me to visit unannounced.

    The nicest sounding one was a whopping £850 per week, rising to £950 per week for nursing care (this is vale of glamorgan). Not sure that this is financially viable as my mum is only 79 and is in reasonable physical health.

    What would you think of a home that had mixed dementia and non-dementia residents? I am not sure how this could work - quite apart from anything else, I would pity the non-dementia residents in that sort of setting - just a few hours with my mum makes me feel as if I have lost my mind. Should I only be looking for places that cater exclusively for dementia sufferers?
  7. Timeout

    Timeout Registered User

    Feb 10, 2012
    HIya, I replied to you earlier by PM so you know where my mum is. That unit is entirely an EMI care home - all dementia patients - all in varying stages of the illness. The carers are all dementia trained and they have recently introduced a scheme called the butterfly project which is all about providing things for the patients to do, memory walls, rummage boxes, old fashioned sweet shop, a pretend pub/bar things that will be familiar to the sufferer.

    When we visited we arrived unnanounced and we were made very welcome, we were shown around everywhere we asked, nothing was too much trouble. There are no horrible smells, I used the toilets myself and they are spotlessley clean.

    The unit caters for about 25 patients plus has a few more rooms for respite care, that was important to us as its a small friendly unit, all on one level. The meals looked lovely and there was a good age spread of residents, some like my mum who are physically fit and chats away endlessly all day long. The fact that they all have dementia means they dont seem to worry about talking about the same thing all the time!

    The costs are around the £600 a week mark for self funders if that is any help
  8. turbo

    turbo Registered User

    Aug 1, 2007
    Hello Sparrows, We put mum's name down on waiting lists at several care homes once we had a short list. I pm'd you yesterday about mum's care home in Cardiff. Mum's care home has residential/EMI/Nursing on three separate floors but they sometimes meet together for parties/entertainment. You have had a lot of good advice about what to look for so I won't add to that.
    I hope your visits go well.

  9. PaddyJim

    PaddyJim Registered User

    Jan 19, 2013
    North Yorkshire
    Hello Sparrows, the one thing i would not neglect is how you 'feel' about the place, when you walk in what does it feel like, is it welcoming of visitors, are the staff friendly and open. Is is clean and tidy. Another thing is do they offer support to family members as our CH provides dementia awareness programmes to help relatives and freinds understand the illness. Good luck finding the right place:)
  10. Sparrows

    Sparrows Registered User

    Sep 30, 2011
    Timeout - your home sounds just what we are looking for - right price too - but it is too far away sadly.

    Turbo - your suggestion looks super and I had a helpful conversation with them - separately my sister (who works in cardiff) was also given v positive feedback when she asked around about it - but I am not sure that we can afford it. I think I'm going to visit though.
  11. Soobee

    Soobee Registered User

    Aug 22, 2009
    Can you visit your loved one at any time?

    What are the alternatives to the meals? i.e. if there are two options and neither are liked, will the resident be offered toast or sandwiches?

    What activities/interaction is provided if the resident is bed bound?

    What is the local doctor like? are they helpful and do they visit often/promptly when asked?

    Go by your instincts. Visit more than once at different times of day.
  12. traveljan60

    traveljan60 Registered User

    Feb 21, 2013
    1. Are Care staff trained and understanding of people with dementia at all levels.
    2. Is there regular stimulation and activities arranged for people with dementia at all levels
    3. Is the layout of the day room comfortable and cosy and not uniformed with chairs surrouding the walls facing the TV
    4. Will staff take the time to get to know my Dad and what he likes and disklikes, who he is, what upsets him and what stimulates him
    5. What is the procedure if my Dad is unwell, is their a GP assigned to the care home that will do visits and not expect the person to sit and wait in a surgery waiting room, with others, which could cause confusion, disorientation and upset
    6. Will his food and drink intake be monitored, in case there are any weight loss/increase issues
    7. Will my Dad's family be able to visit him, and is there someone quite to sit if we wish to spend quality time with him
    8. Will my Dad be checked on during the night, to make sure that he has not fallen out of bed and that he is not lying in any urine should his pad become misplaced
    9. Is the staff aware of the Safeguarding procedure should any issues arise at any time
    10. Will my Dad be safe. Are all doors securely locked and what is the procedure should someone be found to have left the home
    11. Is there a Communication Book so that I or care staff can leave messages about my Dad and the day he has had and if there are any concerns I need to know about
    12. Will his clothes be laundered to a good standard. And will he be dressed daily as he would have been. Showing respect and dignity.
    13. Are daily meals sufficient and contain daily nutrients, taking into account peoples dietary requirements and can my Dad have assistance with feeding
    14. Is there a regular committee for Carers and those who wish to get together to discuss issues in the home and how improvements/suggestions can be made
  13. Canadian Joanne

    Canadian Joanne Volunteer Moderator

    Apr 8, 2005
    Toronto, Canada
    I would also ask how long staff members have been there. I think that having long standing employees says a great deal of good about a home. If the employees are happy, then I feel only good can flow from that.

    I also wouldn't put too much importance on decor or expensive gym equipment or things like that. Certainly, the home should be clean but decor etc are really for the benefit of the families, as we can be easily swayed by such things.

    The odd time there is a smell of urine or faeces when I walk into my mother's unit but it usually because a resident has just had an accident. It's taken care of and it's not an on-going situation. There was a problem with the carpeting but the home has responded by removing the carpeting and putting down laminate flooring - much easier to clean.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.