By guest blogger JEF SMITH
By guest blogger JEF?SMITH If a stranger saunters unannounced into your care home, asks the receptionist for a brochure and peruses the notice with your latest inspection rating, it might just possibly be me. When I’m in an unfamiliar area with an hour to spare and I spot a building offering residential accommodation for older people, I can’t resist dropping in to view an example of what, on one not-so-distant day, I might be visiting not just casually but to prepare for the rest of my life.
If there doesn’t seem to be too much going on – I’m sensitive to pressures and I don’t want to detract from more urgent priorities – I ask for a tour. I own up to having a professional interest in social care, but any alert manager can see that, although not perhaps an imminent candidate for admission myself, I probably have several friends with disabilities sufficiently serious for them to be needing professional support now or very soon. In short, I’m not a bad business prospect.
One of the key elements I watch for is how the presence of a visitor effects the interaction between staff and residents. If we come across someone in a corridor who requires help with, say, calling a lift or navigating a corner, do their immediate needs trump mine, as certainly they should? If there’s a pause for a conversation, am I introduced or is the resident left to regard me as just one more suspicious intruder into their living space? Is the greeting to each resident we pass no more than a routine ‘You alright?’, or is it something more personal – last night’s football, an upcoming TV programme, an enquiry about a family member?
For me, such details will be critical when my time as a resident comes. The much vaunted value of personalisation incorporates important organisational elements like individual budgets and end of life care plans, but it must also include the moment-by-moment way I’m addressed and respected. Anything less is impersonal, or worse, depersonalising. I don’t work for CQC but when it comes to old age I’m becoming an expert by experience.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.