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Choosing an Elderly Care Home

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Choosing a Care Home in the UK Ramon Luder Dip.SW

A move to 24 hour care is often suggested because of a crisis, e.g. .an illness or a fall. Your local social services department should be asked to undertake an assessment of needs as other options could include receiving assistance in your own home; e.g. meals on wheels, assistance with personal care, the provision of aids or equipment or sheltered housing with the independence of your own self contained flat, but with an alarm system and warden on hand in case of emergencies.

If 24 hour care is the only option, the move should be made as positive a step as possible. It can be a huge relief if you have become isolated or have struggled at home whilst it can offer the chance to socialise with others in a secure environment.

Care homes provide different levels of care. Under the care standards they have to provide a statement of purpose, service user's guide and clarify the level of care to be provided. Most will provide personal care, but if you have a medical condition or illness, you may require a Care Home with nursing that has qualified nurses available 24 hours. Similarly, for someone with a diagnosis of dementia, the home will need to be registered for this category. The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) is responsible for registering and inspecting care homes and can be contacted on 0191 233 3535 or csci.org.uk.

Once a Social Worker has agreed that you meet the eligibility criteria for 24 hour care, you should have some choice as to which home although local authority budgets may make the task of choosing that more difficult. Should you wish to move to a care home that costs more than the local authority would normally pay ,a relative or charity may opt to pay the difference by issuing a third party agreement. Those who have over £21000 will need to make their own arrangements and will need to ask the social services dept in the area in which the home is situated for assistance when funds reach this amount.

As care homes vary enormously, a visit is necessary to decide whether it is right for you whilst a 4-6 week trial period will enable any issues to be clarified and the placement confirmed as permanent. Property or tenancy agreements should only be given up at this point.

A checklist of questions to ask could include;

1

Is a current registration certificate on display?

2

Is the home clean, fresh and well decorated? Is the furniture comfortable and in good condition? Are there non -smoking and smoking areas?

3

Do bedrooms smell fresh and clean? Are they single or shared? Are you able to bring your own furniture or have your own key?

4

Does the home have a reasonable range of equipment to meet particular needs, e.g. bath aids, handrails or wheelchairs?

5

Is there a garden and is it accessible?

6

Is the home near local amenities, family and friends?

7

Is there a policy on meeting individual's cultural and religious needs?

8

Is there enough staff to look after the residents and do they look happy? Do they treat residents with respect?

9

Can family and friends visit whenever they choose?

10

Are medicines securely kept and given when required? Can you choose your own GP? How often do the Chiropodist, Optician, Hairdresser visit?

11

Are mealtimes restricted? Can special diets be catered for?

12

What leisure activities are available and how often?

13

Is there a relatives/residents' group?

14

Is information on how to make a complaint well displayed?