People often have to consider looking for a care home during a personal or family crisis such as a serious illness or fall requiring hospitalisation, or following the death of a husband or wife who was the main carer. Invariably this means that they have to find a home quickly and with insufficient time to research and carefully consider all of the available options. If you think that you or a family member is becoming increasingly frail or may need care in the future, time spent now will be well invested to ensure that you or your loved one can find the very best care possible.
Choosing a Care Home
Choosing a care home is a very emotional decision and, just like buying a new house, you will know when you have found the right home for yourself or your family member; the atmosphere and surroundings will feel homely, the staff friendly, professional, helpful and caring.
To help you decide which homes you should visit, you may find it helpful to ask friends and relatives for their recommendations; your GP may also be able to recommend homes in the local area. The Relatives' and Residents' Association can also offer advice and support (www.relres.org Tel: 0207 359 8148). There are also various organisations and agencies who may be able to provide you with a list of registered care homes in your area including:
- Social Services (www.kent.gov.uk or www.essex.gov.uk)
- National Care Association (www.nca.gb.com Tel: 0207 8317090)
- Kent Care Homes Association (www.kentcare.org.uk Tel: 01634 291073)
- SECHA South Essex Care Homes Association (www.secha.org.uk Tel: 01268 784501)
- The Elderly Accommodation Counsel (www.eac.org.uk Tel: 020 7820 1343)
Care Homes are regulated by an independent body the ‘Care Quality Commission’ (CQC). The Care Quality Commission inspects all registered care homes and completes an in-depth report on the home and care provided which is published on their website: www.cqc.org.uk. (See CQC ratings)
If the local authority is responsible for funding the care home fees (see section on Fees), it is important that you contact the local Social Services department. They will need to complete an assessment to identify care needs; this will help you decide what type of care is needed for example residential or nursing care.
If you will be paying the fees privately you can contact the care homes directly and they will help you decide what type of care you need.
When you find a suitable home, the home should complete an assessment to find out what type and level of care you require so that they can prepare a plan of care that is specifically designed to meet your inpidual needs.