Finding a care home can be a daunting task
We have created this short guide with information on financial assistance, what to look for in a care home, and listed some useful organisations for you to contact.
Call: 01803 294563
Guide to Finding a Care Home
1. Ask your care manager (or your GP or hospital doctor) if you might qualify for ‘continuing healthcare’ payments
If you need full-time hospital nursing care then NHS will pay your care and basic living costs. Talk to your social worker, care manager or your GP or hospital doctor about whether or not you qualify. Age UK have a useful fact sheet on the continuing healthcare, which can be downloaded here Many people find this a particularly complex process, and as such it is best to get several opinions from a range of professionals, and read up on the issue and decide for yourself – there is also an appeals system if you are not happy with the decision, which many people use successfully.
2. If you find that you do not qualify for continuing healthcare payments
but you still have healthcare needs, you may find that you qualify for special allowances which cover an element of nursing care costs – your care manager should be aware of this but it is always best to read through fact sheets explaining the issue.
3. Ask about benefits. Even if you do not qualify for help with fees there may be benefits you can claim that will help with personal costs, travel cost, etc. Benefits available and the extent to which they are factored in to calculations about contributions to care costs vary across the countries of the UK, so check with your care manager - they should be able to provide you with all of the information you need on what help is available to you.
What to look for in a Care Home
When choosing a care home, you might start by looking at websites such as this one, or reading leaflets and brochures. We’ve tried very hard to make sure that our website accurately depicts our home; however no brochure or website can truly show you how a home feels in real life. Therefore, we believe that visiting a home is one of the most important things you can do.
When visiting a home take a companion who can give you an objective second opinion. You should be able to visit at any time of the day; however, keep in mind that even the best care homes will not be ‘picture perfect’ at all times. If you visit in the morning for example, care staff will be getting residents washed and dressed for the day, and the home will be in the process of being cleaned. It is more important that you notice how care staff interact with residents, and whether residents seem happy and well cared for. Remember - a busy, bustling environment is a good thing! It shows that the home is full of life, just like your own home..
Try to take a checklist with you and ask yourself the following questions:
• Is it convenient for visitors?
• Are there local services close by, like shops and churches?
• Is there an internet link, TV and music?
• Are relatives and friends welcome to visit at any time?
• Homeliness and personal comfort:
• Are bedrooms well-maintained, and can you bring your own furniture?
• Can you have a bath or a shower when you want to?
• Is the food cooked to your taste, with the choices you want?
• Does the home smell pleasant and clean? Is it light and airy?
• Is there is an en-suite bathroom?
• Is the laundry properly managed?
• Is there is an accessible garden?
Care and medical needs:
• Can the home manage your particular care needs, for example dementia, disability, nursing care?
• Do staff discuss care planning and review dates, with you and your family?
• Are GPs, nurses, dentists, opticians, chiropodists and other therapists available?
• Can you remain in the home if your needs change?
• Is the call system answered quickly?
• Is there space for wheelchairs in corridors and bedrooms?
Dignity, independence and choice:
• Do staff ask about your history, likes and dislikes, and use the information to find out how you
would like to spend your time? Are those choices reviewed regularly with you or your family?
• Do staff address you as you wish to be addressed?
• Is the privacy of people’s rooms respected? Do staff knock before entering?
• Are meals appetising with plenty of choice? Does the menu change regularly? Are snacks and
drinks always available?
• Do staff help you to keep in touch with your friends and family?
• Are complaints dealt with swiftly and without resentment?
These bullet points set out just a few of the areas it is useful to explore. Given that moving into a care home is a big and life-shaping decision, no good home will mind if you ask a long list of questions, so ask as many as you need to before making your choice.
The best and simplest source of information is of course friends, family and people with experience of finding residential homes for themselves. They can also recommend care homes locally based on their own experiences. The system of payments and benefits for older people needing care is particularly complicated however, therefore it is always best to seek advice and guidance from professional organisations. Here is a list of some who may be useful:
Age UK (tel. 0800 169 6565) is a large charity and campaigning group for older people in the UK, and will answer any questions you may have about residential care, benefits and allowances for England. They have a range of useful brochures to download, a helpful website and an advice line, together with local high street branches in many towns.
Independent Age (tel. 0845 319 689) is a charity and pressure group for older people with considerable focus on issues relating to residential care and how it is financed. They have several useful brochures and discussion papers, including a recent report on the payment of ‘top-ups’.
Your GP and hospital specialists will be able to offer you advice on health issues and what sort of home will best suit you. You should also discuss whether continuing care funding might be available to cover home’s fees.
Your financial advisor, accountant or solicitor may be able to help you come to the best arrangement for financing care.
Good care homes will help as much as they can, and will be able to suggest the type of people you should contact. They cannot, and should not, give detailed financial advice, however.
Your local council or hospital will arrange a needs assessment through a Care Manager (social worker), who will assess the level to decide whether a care home placement is appropriate, what contribution the council will make towards care costs and whether there are benefits and allowances you can claim. They will also be able to give you a list of local care homes.
In England and Northern Ireland the Care Quality Commission will provide lists of local homes. They also produce annual inspection reports on homes, available on their website or through homes themselves, which are the best indicator of quality of care. The Care Inspectorate and the Care and Social Service Inspectorate in Wales provide equivalent services for Scotland and Wales respectively.
With over 30 years of experience caring for people, we know more than anyone how overwhelming looking for a care home can be. At Warberries, we meet families everyday who are looking for care and understand what a difficult time it can be for the whole family. They can give you advice and support throughout this process.
Why not make an appointment to come and see us for a cup of tea and a chat?
See our latest inspection report here:
And our reviews here:
Warberries Nursing Home. Lower Warberry Road, Torquay, Devon TQ1 1Q5 Tel: 01803 294 563 Fax: 01803 294 563. © 2014 Warberries Nursing Home