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Young Dementia Annual Conference 2019

20 Nov 2019

St Giles Hotel, London

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12 Dec 2019

The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London

The challenges of finding a care home

October 11, 2019

By DAVINA LUDLOW, a consultant to the care home sector and a member of P&G Professional’s Expert Advisory Council.

Research commissioned by P&G ProfessionalTM has revealed we spend more time researching care accommodation for loved ones than selecting schools for children, finding the right job or even our own homes. Certainly, the responsibility of selecting a care home is not only extremely onerous but also traumatic and emotional.

When looking for care there are a number of important issues to take into account, for example location, cost and provision of care. Once a location and funding have been established, I advise visiting at least four care homes to identify which is most suitable.

Although much research has been done to establish what the ideal care setting is, it is still an undefinable subject matter as much depends upon personal choice. There has been a huge surge towards providing care in a 5-star hotel setting, however the main word we must remember when choosing a home is the word “care” at which point I would like to add the word “loving”. You can have the most loving care provision in both the hotel style care home and also in homes which are a little older. Outside appearance should not be the defining factor.

When visiting a home you can tell immediately what the standard of care is like, just look at the faces of the happy residents and the staff’s smiles. It is much more important that staff are sitting with residents exchanging conversation, providing a stimulating atmosphere than talking to their colleagues at the nursing station. Staff should interact well with residents and be engaged and attentive.

Upon entering a home one of the first things that will greet you is the smell. If this is objectionable, it is not the home for your loved one. In a recent survey out of 42,472 residents and their relatives, the standard of cleanliness in homes was given a score of 93.5% which indicates the priority homes give in ensuring their settings maintain this high quality. Look for somewhere that feels clean but homely. Using safe, simple and effective products that are trusted by residents, such as Ariel Professional or Flash Professional, creates a clean that feels comfortable and familiar.

Once you have established location, care provision and staff, there are a number of important details to consider.

Daily life: are residents able to make a choice as to when they can have visitors, get out of bed, go outside, which clothes to wear?

Accommodation: can residents bring their own furniture, do they have en-suite facilities, are the rooms cleaned daily?

Communal areas: is there easy access, is there a safe and secure garden, are the communal areas arranged to encourage social interaction, are toilet facilities within easy reach?

Food: is it cooked on the premises, is there menu choice, can dietary requirements be catered for? Food is one of the main topics of conversation in a care home either in discussion with visitors or each other as it is the one point all residents have in common.

Finally, activities: is there an “open door” policy for visitors, are trips arranged, do they have an activities co-ordinator who will create a calendar of pursuits?

The above are a few topics which must be taken into consideration when choosing a care home. But the most important thing is to establish whether your loved one will be happy there and whether it’s somewhere they would call home.

Davina Ludlow

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