How to choose a care home for your parent ?

Moving an elderly parent from home into a residential facility can be one of the most difficult things a family goes through. We can share our advice for taking the pain out of the process.

How to choose a care home for your parent ?

Moving an elderly parent from home into a residential facility can be one of the most difficult things a family goes through. We can share our advice for taking the pain out of the process. Deciding to make the move to a care home can be a difficult decision and families usually play a vital role in helping their elderly relative pick the right one. The move from one’s own home into a care home can be upsetting, even traumatic, for both the elderly relative and their family. Relatives can feel guilty about assigning the day-to-day care of their loved one into the hands of others, and anxious about the level of care and support they will be receiving. Though it is painful, our options are limited as the parent may need more professional care or you simply cannot extend care for various reasons.

Here’s our list of the 10 most important things to consider to make the transition as easy as possible.

1. Take as much time as you can.

Choosing a home in a hurry is never a good idea but often there can be pressure to find somewhere quickly, especially if a hospital is keen to discharge a patient. So last minute scurrying should be avoided. Because you know that after discharge or the health condition warrants a care home and he/she cannot be taken back to home.

2. Decide on the type of home your parent requires

As mentioned in my earlier article, introducing the care facilities, there are four basic types of care possible and facilities and services differ, again the prices will vary for each. If there is a strong possibility that your loved one may need greater levels of care in the future, it can be wise to choose a home where this extended care is possible, rather than having to move.

3. Talk to your parent if possible

A discussion with the parent is necessary to convince them about the need for a more professional care or the need to get admitted in a care facility. Most elders fear depending on someone and they dread loosing their comforts. That’s why we say a little bit forceful convincing is norm, saying we have few options left. If your parent is not well enough for this conversation, or is unable to communicate, discuss it with all your close relatives who know your parent well. Find out what the most important things to them are about the care home and what they would like the staff to know about them to help them care for them in the best way.

4. Decide on where the home should be**

Think about the distances you, other family members and friends may need to travel and how easy it is to get there, including for those who don’t have their own transport. But this is again secondary because you are not going to be a regular visitor. More than that, let’s know what kind of access do you need? Many homes are in adapted buildings and even if they say they can offer a ground floor room, there can be steps into the lounge or dining room. Again it all depends on the availability.

5. What facilities are available ?

Some homes are very large and this can have its advantages, such as better entertainment facilities, including having a minibus and obviously, a wider social circle. If your parent is quiet and shy, however, they may be better off in a much smaller home. It all depends on the personality of the person and again the Bathroom arrangements can be very personal, especially access to one’s own toilet. Do they want access to a garden? Do they have specific dietary requirements? Many older people are inseparable from their cats and dogs and want to take them with them. If not, they want the presence of Dogs (therapy dogs). Knowing the preferences is important beforehand. Ask your loved one what’s important to them.

6. Cost factor

Importantly, if your loved one will be a “self funder”, how much can they afford? Costs are escalating and eldercare is no more cheap. Prepare to shell out more for a decent stay and again cost vary depending upon what type of care you need. Fees will vary considerably between homes, and this can mean that families may want (or feel they need) to top up the fees from their own resources to secure the quality of care and environment desired. After determining what benefits and entitlements are available, the rest of the fees will need to come out of investments, savings or against the future sale of a home.

7. Crisis management

Crisis is an event that is perceived as overwhelming and is something not ‘normal occurance’. A situation becomes a crisis when the client believes that they have exhausted their resources and coping abilities. What is perceived as a crisis by one person, may not be perceived as a crisis by someone else. It can be a fall, infection, high temp, unconsciosness, occurance of a bed sore etc,. Some other social and financial aspects also can be turned into a crisis. It is important to know the protocols followed by the care facility to manage the crisis situations. You must evalaute the prepardness of the facility to seize the situation under control.

8. Care and Hygiene standards

It is of utmost importance that care facilities maintain a high standard of cleanliness and personal hygiene for all their residents.The problem of poor nursing home hygiene is a serious one and a matter of real concern. The elders usually suffer from an array of conditions related to their advanced age and if they are allowed to live under conditions of poor hygiene, they are more likely to catch germs that can cause diseases that are then spread to other nursing home residents. In a nursing facility setting, the residents’ immune systems are usually more compromised than young people and they are more likely to become sick from having poor hygiene. Their immune systems are not properly equipped to handle an onslaught of germs that can arise out of having poor hygiene. Watch over these highly important factors which can compromise the health of your loved one.

9. Staff Approach

An ageing population requires nurses to be fully equipped to care for their specialist needs. Health professionals’ values, beliefs and attitudes towards older people affect how they view and approach those in their care, which affect the quality of care that older people experience. Older people have special needs and dealing with an elderly person is no easy deal. Lot of attributes needed for a nurse or a para-medical to extend care to seniors. One should always be in a positive fame of mind while dealing with elders. Knowledge about the diseases, syndromes and its management should be there. Ideally the elderly should be nursed by staff trained in geriatric care who would understand the aging process and how it affects health, disease and rehabilitation. Finding out about the training and skill level of a potential caregiver is important.

10. References

References of people who utilized the services earlier are a good way of knowing the competency of the establishment. Try getting some testimonies from the people who can guide you to take a final call.

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