Author Topic: Facing facts on care homes.  (Read 1621 times)


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Facing facts on care homes.
« on: 02 Sep 2013 11:22AM »
"Last year, a Lords committee set out to review the implications of demographic change on all aspects of life within the UK – from health and care to pensions, work and housing.

After 10 months of gathering evidence, a 100-page report was produced detailing every aspect of life likely to change and what we’d need to do about it.

 Its opening line didn’t pull any punches: ‘The UK population is ageing rapidly, but we have concluded that the government and our society are woefully underprepared."

"They had some stark numbers to work with: England will see a 51 per cent rise in those aged 65 plus and a 101 per cent increase in those aged 85 plus from 2010 to 2030. Instances of dementia will increase by 80 per cent by then. Arthritis, coronary heart disease and stroke – all up by over 50 per cent."

"Residential care homes are at the coal face of demographic change – over half of residents already have dementia, and the average age (and care needs) of their residents increases year-on-year.

 Demands and expectations of residential care are also increasing, as wider NHS and social care reforms promote choice, independence and personalised services; but years of under-funding in social care has led to local authorities paying under-market prices for care beds and bankruptcies are a way of life in the sector."



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Re: Facing facts on care homes.
« Reply #1 on: 02 Sep 2013 09:36PM »
My elderly stepmother is in hospital and the family are insisting that she can no longer stay in her own home, it will be too dangerous for her now.  So the matter of finding an appropriate car home is rather an urgent matter at the moment.  We are all hoping that the hospital will be able to help sort something out.

Although she is not yet ready to leave the hospital we are well aware of the bed-blocking problem.


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Re: Facing facts on care homes.
« Reply #2 on: 03 Sep 2013 01:21AM »
Hi Auntie

the hospital should have social workers who can help at least to some extent.   Here are some bits of info that might help:

1.  Care homes come in broadly two types:   

i.     a residential home is essentially a boarding house with minimal care provision (so they help with toileting and bathing, maybe feeding; will give routine medications; but definitely nothing which counts as medical /nursing).   Residents tend to be fairly independent and are likely to go out on their own or in groups, etc..   This is a the lower level of cost.

ii.     a nursing home is the higher level of care, obviously more expensive, anyone who needs actual nursing or medical intervention will need this;  residents tend to be pretty dependent on the staff and are much less likely to leave the home unless actually taken by staff or family.

In selecting a care home there are some things I recommend you look out for:

- smell; if you smell urine (or worse) as you walk into the home or anywhere except an actual toilet, don't even consider it.   There is no need for these places to stink of disinfectant either.   The good ones smell like a well cared for family home.

-  staff attitudes towards residents.  If you see anything you don't like, be very cautious, if they allow you to see that on a first visit I think that's a bad sign.   If all the staff are sitting together and residents are elsewhere, that's a poor indicator.  Staff should be spread around the home interacting with residents, not each other (and "it's tea break" is not an excuse for this)

-  I prefer homes where there is more than one lounge / day room.   Hopefully at least one does not have the TV on all the time.   If residents don't always get on too well, it is really helpful if there are two or more places they can go during the day, it helps if people don't always sit in the same room all day everyday and the residents are encouraged to mix it up a bit.    If all the chairs in the day room are around the edge of the room and not placed in small groups where some people actually face each other at a conversational distance I think that's another poor sign.

- ask about what social activities they have on a regular basis?  Is there an active residents group which arranges some events?  That's a good sign.  Do staff bother to arrange some events on a regular basis (e.g.  bingo,  a film show,  a singing leader to come and hold a singsong or a choir every week) and if they don't that's another poor sign.   Is there a record player somewhere around?  Or at least a CD player?   It should have a good selection of music CDs to choose from ....

- what is the staff attitude to people who prefer to stay in their own rooms most of the time?   

and so on

regards, Deb


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Re: Facing facts on care homes.
« Reply #3 on: 03 Sep 2013 09:19PM »
As AO points out, above, there are just not enough good homes around.  I keep hearing about places that have gone bankrupt too. 

My stepmother is a very stubborn lady and wants to keep her existing GP.  She relies heavily on her son & his wife, and my cousin and her family (who live not too far from each other), so naturally she wants to be somewhere where they can visit easily.  Luckily she has been persuaded prior to this latest hospital stay, that it is time to move into a care facility of some sort and indeed, had her eye on a place that is not too far away.  It has been waiting for a place to become vacant there.

However, it has now become a matter of urgency as her eyesight has recently deteriorated badly.  It will be a home with care whenever it is that she goes.  I am not very involved with her - recently whenever I have offered to come and visit she has put me off.  But I do support my step-brother and his wife, neither of whom are well at the moment.  Infact they are both cross with her as she had all the information about places to move to many years ago, when she was well enough to do it.  As I said,  stubborn and tries to manage everyone around her.

Thanks for the information Devine, I'll pass it on.