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Nursing homes: Help on making the right choice

At the point in life when families are considering a care home for their loved one, the process can seem almost overwhelming. There are numerous factors to consider which will help to ensure that the right establishment is chosen to meet your relative’s needs. Care homes are available to look after people at various stages in life, from those suffering long-term disabilities to those who are struggling with old age. Finding the most suitable home for the individual’s needs can be made easier by addressing a few separate questions during the process, allowing homes to be compared and decisions to be made.

Research

In the modern internet age, most reputable care homes will have their website up to date with lots of relevant information. Using a search engine is easy: entering a key phrase such as ‘nursing home in Sussex’ will bring up a list of appropriate ones whose websites can then be looked into in more detail. Although the quality of the website is not necessarily indicative of the calibre of the establishment, the free accessibility of information creates transparency, which suggests the home has nothing to hide and is honest in their dealings. This is reassuring right from the outset.

Nursing Home Standards

In the United Kingdom, all nursing homes for adult residents are regulated by the Care Quality Commission. This means that they are regularly inspected by trained assessors, who speak to residents and staff to analyse the quality of care provided. These inspections are scheduled regularly or can be randomly triggered, but in both instances the reports can be accessed on the website of the CQC. Reading these reports will help to show the most recent standards of care provided and whether anything was raised as a concern.

Questions to Consider

Comparing different nursing homes can be made easier by asking a similar set of questions at each establishment.

Firstly, the location is important. The resident might want to be near their family members or close to friends, or might want to stay in the area they have always lived in. This could also include proximity to leisure clubs or shops, as well as covering how noisy or rural the area will be.

It is important to also consider any religious or ethical needs. For some, it will be important to be in a care home which caters to their specific religious practices, with opportunities to engage in religious services. Others might need to ensure that their specific dietary requirements will be met, such as vegetarianism or religious dietary needs such as halal or kosher foods.

Then concerns move to life inside the home. Some nursing homes have structured routines to which the residents adhere, while other homes are more flexible and build schedules specific to the individual. It is useful to find out which practice is adopted, as each potential resident will have their own preferences. After this, the role of the nursing home in providing leisure opportunities should be discussed, including options for outings and social events.

Finally, don’t forget to discuss with the home what the arrangements are for visiting and the level of input that family members are able to have in the care plans for their relative.

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