Dementia care homes. What you should know.
If you have to help make a decision on placing a family member or friend into a dementia care home, the one thing that you will want to make sure is that the care home is the best one available .
This is especially true if the choice of residence lies with you.
There are different kinds of care homes, with some more specialized in care for a person with dementia than a normal residential home for the elderly would be.
These kinds of home are more aware of the condition and have a better understanding of how to care for a person with the disease.
But there are a few questions you may want to ask or a few things you may want to consider before you decide upon which dementia care homes offer the best choice of care.
Help when choosing dementia care homes
The one thing you should always do when considering your or the persons options is to visit more than just the one care home. By visiting more than one care home it will help you to confirm your beliefs that the one you want to choose is the best one available for the person you have the responsibility for.
You should always ask for a copy of the most recent care inspection report so you can compare how well the care home is doing.
Some other points you may want to consider that may help you make a decision are –
When You Arrive
- Is there a car park (if you drive). Is the care home within comfortable distance from where you live. (could be awkward if you have to travel 60 miles to visit)
- What were the grounds and gardens around the care home like? Are they clean and tidy and well presented?
- How were you welcomed when you first arrived? Were the staff welcoming.
- Is there good security at the home. Were you able to walk straight in or was there a bell or other form of communication system in place?
- What is your first impression of inside the home. Is it clean and tidy. What are the decor and furnishings like? Are they catering for somebody who has dementia?
- Do the staff look clean and well presented?
- Are the carers welcoming and polite. Do they seem happy/unhappy in their work?
- Do the staff seem well-informed on the home and the procedures of the dementia care home?
- Does there seem to be good communication between the carers and visitors at the home?
- Are the staff trained in dementia care?
The Care Home
- What are the star ratings of the dementia care homes? This is given by the Care Quality Commission. Always ask to see it.
- Is the home wheelchair and disability friendly. Does it have wheelchair access?
- Does the care home have a dementia care accreditation? Ask to see it.
- Does the care home smell nice. Is it free from unpleasant odours?
- Is there a garden or area where the residents can sit outside. Is it user-friendly and is it safe an accessible for the elderly ?
- Are their day time activities organised for the residents? If so, what are they?
- Does they provide day trips outside of the home? If so, is there additional costs involved?
- Are the residents able to bring their own items of furniture into the home? What about personal items such as pictures and other personal belongings, can these be displayed in their own room.
Eating at the Home
- Is there a choice of meals for the residents?
- Are there specialist diets available to individuals?
- Is the resident able to request an alternative menu to the published one?
- How many meals a day are provided. What about between meals?
- Where do the residents eat. Is there a dining room or do they eat in their own room?
You as the Visitor
- What time are the visiting times. Are you restricted in having access to the resident in the dementia care homes?
- Is there public transport close to the location. Other visitors the person may want to receive may not have access to a car. How long did it take to get there by car, bus, train or whichever mode of transport you or others would use for visiting the person
- Are there any days when visiting is not allowed?
- What are the different ways for you to contact the dementia care home?
- Is there anything they require from you?
- Is the admission agreement acceptable to you?
There are many other questions that you may want to ask when visiting dementia care homes so it may be wise to write a list of questions that you may want to ask the care home manager or the owner of the home. This will help you make the best decision that you can for the person when choosing a place of residence.
There are many groups that can also help you with the process. You can find extra help on our dementia groups page