*This is a collaborative post.
In October, the nation was shocked to hear that a resident with dementia was abused at her luxury nursing home. For many struggling with the dilemma of how best to care for elderly loved ones, especially those with dementia or reduced mobility, staying home is difficult, if not impossible, and the news story must have raised eyebrows. Too much worry and suspicion. The nursing home in charge has (truthfully) pinned the blame on one or two “hooligans” who were taken from their home – but that still means the elderly lady is being treated in a place where she should feel safe. Hurt, and her child suffered too, and I feel so guilty for putting her in that situation in the first place. How can you be sure you are choosing a safe, high-quality nursing home? let’s see.
First, abuse is rare
The “good” news about this story is that it did elicit a strong reaction of fear and anger, and that’s because such cases are rare. They still have the power to shock us, and only when they occur less frequently (which, of course, doesn’t make them any less heinous when they do occur). Local media, social media, and review sites often mention any incidents of abuse or suspected abuse. When you compile your list of potential nursing homes, Google your current choice and see what’s written about it, as this can provide insight you wouldn’t otherwise have known.
When you have a shortlist of potential homes – click here to view the list Eastleigh Care Home, Somerset – Make sure to visit everyone, preferably with older relatives, and spend a fair amount of time touring the place and, if possible, having meals or tea with carers and residents. Observing how residents interact with staff can give you an idea of the vibe in your home, and it can give your loved ones an idea of whether they are happily fitting into the lifestyle at home.
What are caregivers and nurses like?
Nursing staff should not just be actual nurses, they should provide human connection and meticulous attention to the medical and physical needs of each resident.
What will your money be used for?
Carefully read any descriptions about what the home has to offer and determine if your relative will be able to take full advantage of the amenities. For example,
Emma Williams from the Association of Relatives and Residents says you should be aware number of features, especially for residents with dementia. Among other things, she said:
- Staff – all staff, including cleaners, kitchen staff, should receive dementia training
- Visiting hours should be ample and open: Abuse breeds in closed secrecy
- CQC report should be provided free of charge
- Each resident’s care plan should be reviewed monthly and updated as needed
- Night staff should be present at all times and have a clear contingency plan in place
you should feel welcome
To reiterate one of Emma’s points: you should always be welcome to come and meet your loved ones. Not only is this good for them, allowing them to get in touch with the outside world and their “real life”, but it also allows you to keep an eye on your relative and make sure she is getting the best care possible.
follow your instinct
Sometimes you walk into a place and you know it’s going to be great – of course you should verify this with the checks mentioned above, but in general we have a pretty highly honed sense of danger or discomfort , these feelings are difficult to put into words. In other words, we only know whether something is wrong or right. More often than not, this feeling is perfectly valid, so don’t be too quick to dismiss your instincts – you’ve done your due diligence, of course!