All care and old age homes vary in their quality, and it can be hard to know what qualities to look for when choosing a home. A good care home will probably do the following:
- Offer new residents and their families or carers a guide (in a variety of accessible formats) that describes what they can expect while they’re living there. Ideally, residents of the home would have helped to produce the guide.
- Have a majority of staff who’ve worked there for a long time. They know the residents well; involve residents, carers and their families in decision making, perhaps through regular meetings with staff.
- Support residents in doing things for themselves and maximising their independence, including keeping contact with the outside community.
- Offer a choice of tasty and nutritious food, which residents may have helped to prepare.
- Take into account the needs and wishes of all residents, and provide a variety of leisure and social activities.
- Be in a clean, bright and hygienic environment that’s been adapted appropriately for residents, with single bedrooms available. A good environment encourages residents to personalize their room.
Have staff who respect residents’ privacy and knock before they enter someone’s room.
- Be staffed by well-trained people, for example, nurses trained in dementia care.
- Respect residents’ modesty and make sure that they look respectable, while recognising residents’ choice about what they wear.
- Have a code of practice and a set of aims, but doesn’t make them a priority.
- Offers little opportunity to listen to residents, with most decisions made by staff.
- Have residents’ care plans that are out of date, and don’t reflect their needs accurately. This means that some residents aren’t getting the support they need with their healthcare and personal care.
- Give residents little privacy. Staff who often enter residents’ rooms without knocking, and they talk about residents within earshot of other people.
- Have staff who don’t make an effort to interact with residents, and leave them sitting in front of the TV all day.
- Be in a poorly maintained building, with rooms that all look the same and have little choice in furnishings.
Need cleaning, with shared bathrooms that aren’t cleaned regularly.
Deny residents their independence, for example, by not allowing someone to feed themselves because it takes too long.
The rights of care home or old age home residents must be defined and upheld:
- The right to be treated politely and with dignity.
- The right to privacy for yourself, and your relatives and friends when they visit.
- The right to deal with your own finances and spend your money how you choose.
- The right to eat food that’s prepared in line with your faith, and to worship when and where you want to.
- The right to choose the food that you eat, and to be given the time and space to relax and enjoy your meal.
- The right to choose when you get up in the mornings and go to bed at night.
- The right to complain if you’re unhappy with your care.