How to choose a Care Home

How to Choose a Care Home

1/3 of Care Homes ‘inadequate’

Figures from the Care Quality Commission, the body charged by the Government to inspect Care Homes, show that 36% of residential care homes inspected so far have been rated as inadequate or requiring improvement it is clear that great care needs to be taken when choosing a Care Home.

The Chief inspector of Adult Social Care, Andrea Sutcliffe stated in 2015 that “‘week in, week out, our inspectors discover some truly awful care’. At the worst homes, they have found residents with ‘worrying bruises’ or dementia sufferers with ‘malnutrition or life-threatening dehydration’.

She went on to say that there was a ‘shocking lack of respect for people’s dignity’ in the worst homes.

‘Sometimes it is abuse – older people treated roughly, worrying bruises that have no explanation,’ she said. ‘Sometimes it is neglect …It can all add up to a thoroughly miserable and frightening experience for people often in the most vulnerable of circumstances.’

With the launch of a Tripadvisor style review site for Care Homes in December 2015 the issue of choosing a Care Home is given a new tool. But how much should anyone rely upon this new service and what else can be done?

Whist most of the News one sees about Care Homes is pretty bleak, from stories about neglect, injury and poor hygiene to the funding crisis that threatens to overwhelm the sector, the fact is that for many older people and their families finding a Care Home can become an absolute necessity.

As such it’s important to search behind the headlines and try to find reliable information. Fortunately there are several places one can look.

Firstly it’s always a good idea to use a search engine to check for any articles about the Care Home you are interested in. Often news stories about Care Homes are only reported in the local press and can easily be overlooked. A quick search should turn up anything you need to be aware about.

Then there is the NHS Choices site, which has some good basic information about Care Homes and the things you should take into consideration when choosing one, and some basic information about how Care Home care is paid for. As of December 2015 it also includes Care Homes reviews in the MyNHS section. You can search by postcode, region or home name to check on facilities with or without nursing. As anyone can leave reviews you should be careful about placing too much reliance upon them, but taken along with other sources of information they should help build up an overall picture of the Care Home you are thinking about.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) website has information about the Care Home inspections it carries out and you can search for any Home you’re interested in.

Finally Nadra Ahmed, chair of the National Care Association, which represents independent care sector providers, says “Nothing beats actually going to see a service for yourself. If you think that it’s good [but a website] says there’s something that’s not quite right, don’t let it put you off”.

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