Five tips for selecting a suitable care home for a loved one

Some care homes focus on how they can benefit the owner and their staff rather than the residents. Moreover, there are instances where the advertised reputation of a home does not match the services it actually provides. For instance, a home for self-funding paying residents should offer better food and accommodation. However, if its level of service is no different from a publicly funded residence, why would a family choose that home?

Another feature you should consider is the amenities. Are there areas where the residents can engage in social and leisure activities?

1. Is the home appealing?

As mentioned, the home you choose for your loved one should always smell fresh when you enter the building. You should also check to see whether the interior and exterior spaces are well-managed and well-maintained.

Take particular note of the following areas:

  • Residents’ rooms
  • Toilets and bathrooms
  • Dining room
  • Floors and carpets

They should be kept clean and fresh at all times.

Nevertheless, remember that maintaining a tidy and sweet-smelling care home is not an easy feat. As the residents are usually elderly, many of them will have problems with their continence (the ability to control bladder and bowel movements). Therefore, the home should have a reliable continence management policy in place. However, you should also ensure that this will not compromise the safety of your loved one. For example, rooms with hard flooring are easier to clean in case your relative has issues with their bladder but another factor to consider is that due to old age, residents can be prone to falling.  

2. Does the home have good customer service?

Some care homes focus on how they can benefit the owner and their staff rather than the residents. Moreover, there are instances where the advertised reputation of a home does not match the services it actually provides. For instance, a home for self-funding paying residents should offer better food and accommodation. However, if its level of service is no different from a publicly funded residence, why would a family choose that home?

Another feature you should consider is the amenities. Are there areas where the residents can engage in social and leisure activities?

3. What is the culture and behaviour in the home?

People who work in a care home follow an established behavioural policy. You should be able to immediately determine how the carers perform and whether they are competent and knowledgeable. Even a casual observation of how they carry out their daily tasks will provide you with an insight into their capabilities.

You should also be able to observe the home’s culture and how the management and staff treat their residents and visitors. For example, when you visit your loved one, do the carers give you a warm welcome? These are the cultural cues that will enable you to tell whether the home is focused on providing a comfortable living space for its residents. 

It is also essential that the staff provide positive emotional support to family members who are having a difficult time dealing with living apart from their loved one. For example, if you are traumatised by seeing your parent suffering from a certain health condition, such as dementia, how do the staff respond? The answer will give you a clue as to whether this is the care home for you.

What type of community exists in the care home?

It is helpful to understand whether the home has a sense of community. What rituals, traditions and events are celebrated? The depth of the relationships and friendships between the staff and residents is a clear gauge of how close-knit the community is. A sense of community is vital, especially for people who feel vulnerable as they spend their remaining years away from their family. The home should be a place where residents can experience joy and happiness every day.

5.  Does the home have a sense of pride in its work?

The standards of care in a nursing home are dependent on the quality of its staff. If the home is well-managed, you can expect your loved one to receive high standards of care. For example, the Royal British Legion Homes are considered to be extremely reputable.

Homes with a sense of pride often adopt an attitude whereby the residents will always receive the best possible care. The staff are vigilant and ensure that the standards are followed to the letter. Moreover, they usually carry out their tasks with a sense of love and joy. 

Summary

It goes without saying that putting a loved one in a care home is not an easy decision to make. Unfortunately, circumstances can often leave you with no other choice. The best you can do is make sure you choose the most suitable home by evaluating a range of factors, including the staff, the living areas, the bedrooms and the meal options. The most important thing, however, is to ensure that your loved one will be living in a loving, caring and happy environment.      


Parental Choice helps working families with advice on childcare and eldercare, alongside their childcare search services and sourcing residential care homes for the elderly. 

For advice on care for the elderly get in touch or see our useful resources.

info@parentalchoice.co.uk  |  020 8979 6453

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