If you’ve had to make the difficult decision to move a loved one into a care home, you’re going to want to make sure you’re selecting the best long-term care facility for their needs. There are a wide range of options available, which is why doing your homework and understanding what’s available will help you to make the right decision for you and your loved one.
Care homes may be run by councils or charities or they can be privately owned. Some may have domestic-like facilities where people can live quite independently like those at www.hc-care-homes.co.uk while others will provide 24-hour care for those who need it.
Choosing a Personal or Nursing Care Facility
The first decision you will have to make is whether your loved one requires some personal care or whether they need constant nursing care and attention.
If a care home provides personal care, they will help to make sure your loved one has all of their basic needs taken care of, including taking medication, going to the toilet or assisting with bathing and meals. However, those that provide nursing care will be registered to provide this type of care and will often be known as nursing homes. Some may provide complete nursing care while others may have different specialties so they can help with certain illness or conditions, e.g. dementia.
Choosing a Care Home
The choice of a care home is, by law, down to the person who is entering the care facility, even when a local authority is funding the accommodation. When a local authority helps with care costs, this is means-tested, and even if you can afford to make your own arrangements, it’s advisable to speak with your local authority to find out what contributions could be made.
In order to do this, the authority will carry out a financial assessment, taking into account what assets your loved one has and what their income is. Covering basic costs of care cannot be placed on family members by the local authority.
Should you choose a care home for your loved one that is going to cost more than what the local authority would expect to pay for their needs, the difference will need to be paid by your loved one or a friend or relative of them, topping up the fees to meet the overall charges of the care home.
It is worth bearing in mind that if these top-up fees can no longer be paid, the local authority aren’t obliged to continue paying for this, so you may have to find alternative care for your loved one. That’s why looking into the finances before selecting a home is fundamental in the decision-making process.
What to Look for in a Care Home
There are going to be a number of things that you want to make sure a care home is providing before you choose to move your loved one there, but here are a few top tips as to what you should be looking out for.
Visit the Care Quality Commission website to find out how the care home has fared in their recent inspections. This will show you what level of care is being provided and whether there are any issues or concerns that you need to look into.
Location is also another very important factor as you and your loved one’s family and friends are going to want to visit regularly. If your loved one is mobile and will want to get out of the nursing home, either with you or on their own, check to see what facilities are nearby that they can enjoy. See whether the care home allows residents to leave the facility and if it is safe for them to do so. You should also ask whether the care facility will focus on individual requirements or whether residents have to fit into the routine of the care home.
Also, consider what visiting arrangements there are for when you visit, enquiring whether you’re free to visit as and when you want to, if you’re allowed to take the residents out and if staff organize trips out for those who are able to leave the facility.
If you want to be involved in the care of your loved one, find out how flexible the care home is as to how much involvement you can have. Enquire whether there are any regular meetings or support groups and how you are able to communicate with staff members.
Ethan Archer writes about eldercare in his articles. He has an elderly Father who recently moved to a care facility, and is co-carer for his Mother-in-Law along with his wife.