Top 5 Qualities to Identify in a Good Care Home
Choosing a care home for your loved one can be a decision fraught with emotion and uncertainty. Regardless of whether your budget allows for an exclusive facility with private rooms or a more modest option, the following five qualities should be present in every good care home.
1. Cleanliness is Key
Let your nose be your guide. Upon first entering the care home facility, what do you smell? Urine? Disinfectant barely masking urine? A good care home should smell clean and fresh, not like a dirty mop bucket or an overripe adult diaper. The home should be clean in appearance, as well. Linen should be crisp and clean, floors should appear mopped, and windows and furniture sparkling. The space should be inviting and warm, yet not cluttered.
2. The Staff Should Be Plentiful and Knowledgeable
It should not be difficult to identify a caregiver at the home. An abundance of staff in attendance, dressed appropriately and conducting themselves in a friendly, professional manner is essential. These people will be the ones to provide not only practical care for your loved one, but also be a source of social interaction. They should be smiling, not complaining. Engage them in conversation. If they cannot coherently speak to you, either because of a language barrier or because of a lack of social skills, they won't be able to communicate effectively with your loved one. The director of the facility should be able and willing to produce stellar credentials.
3. Medical Professionals Should Readily Available
Ideally, a registered nurse should be on site. At the very least, a nurse should make regular, frequent visits to the facilities. Whether the staff distributes medication or just reminds the patient to take their medication, the policy should be firmly established and clearly outlined at your request.
4. Security Should be Adequate and Transportation Services Provided
The level of care needed can vary among residents in the same home. Some residents will need little more than socialization and general assistance while others may be in advanced stages of dementia. Multi-levels of security must be present to ensure that confused residents don't wander off and become lost. A good home will offer scheduled transportation to medical appointments and religious services, and the same level of security should apply to the residents when they're off-site. It's important to note that the facility should be secure for the safety of your loved one, but always open to you, without advance notice.
5. A Calendar of Life-Enriching Activities Should be Offered
A good care home will have a thoughtfully planned calendar of events for the enjoyment of their residents. Don't settle for a common room with a television and a shelf of puzzles. Music, art therapy, dog visits, exercise programs and ice cream socials--all of these activities will enrich the life of your loved one, regardless of their health or cognitive abilities.
When researching care homes for your loved, one remember to look for a clean, well-staffed and secure facility that takes responsibility for the quality of their residents' lives. Keep these points in mind and your search for a good care home will be a success.
About the Author
This article comes from Phillippa representing mha.org.uk – a charity providing care and support services for older people in Britain, with care homes in Southampton to care homes in Glasgow.