What To Look For In An Elderly Residential Care Home

What To Look For In An Elderly Residential Care Home

When looking at residential care homes for the elderly, you can easily become overwhelmed. Do you know what you’re looking for? Are you comparing like with like? Those are some of the big questions you’ll need answered. Then there are all of the smaller issues that really matter to you: such as will you have a nice view from your window; can your young grandchildren visit; what is the food like? This article guides you through a simple step-by-step approach so that you know what to look for in an elderly residential care home.

Get Started

It might seem confusing, but the easiest way to tell one residential care home from another is to start looking at the ones in your area. In this way, you’ll quickly narrow down a short-list, which you can compare on a more finely-tuned basis.

As you do this, you’ll quickly discover some confusing terminology. A quick run-down is:

  • Residential care home: care in a residential facility without nursing care.
  • Nursing care home: care in a residential facility that includes nursing care.
  • Dementia care home: specialist nursing care in a residential setting for dementia sufferers.

This article deals predominantly with the first option: residential care homes, such as our homes Raleigh Mead in South Molton, and in Minehead. Eastleigh do also provide nursing care, and dementia care, in our other settings.

To find residential care homes in your area you can search online, or ask around friends and family. You can also search the Care Quality Commission site for reports of homes in your area.

Your Shortlist

Once you’ve done the above, you should have a more reasonable short-list to work from. It is now time to start investigating in greater depth.

Primary Considerations

Before you get too far along with your search you need to ensure:

  • The home provides the appropriate level of care (residential, nursing, or dementia).
  • Whether the home has vacancies.

Armed with this information you can then look up the most recent inspection reports of your short-listed homes. This information should be easy to find. For example, we proudly display our CQC Excellent rating for our Raleigh Mead home, and our Good rating for our Minehead home, clearly on our website.

The homes that are still on your shortlist after this exercise need to be scrutinised further.

Looking at a Home in More Detail

Location, Location, Location

It’s not quite the same as buying a new home, but location is an important consideration. Will friends and family be able to visit easily? What is parking like? What is nearby for the residents? Is there much traffic noise…or noise from local venues? Is there a view?

Now Look More Closely – Facilities

What is disability access like? How many floors are there? Is there a lift? What are the security measures in place? Is the home well-maintained? Is there a garden? What is cleanliness like? What are furnishings like? What is the overall feel – is it hot or cold?

Getting the People Right – The Staff

Choosing the best residential care home isn’t just about the building, facilities, and location. The staff have a huge impact on the life and care of the residents in the home. You can do some research before you visit, such as regarding their qualifications. For example, at Eastleigh we list many of our key staff and a short bio about them on our site, so that you can see for yourself.

Then when you visit the home you can judge for yourself how welcoming the staff are, and how they engage with their residents. Don’t forget to also ask questions about the staffing ratios, who is on duty when, and what the staff turnover is like.

Looking at Daily Living

Now it’s time to consider all of the small things that will hugely affect the resident-to-be. It might not seem important to you that the menu is regularly updated, but for a resident this will matter enormously. So ask questions about the Menu, ask about the daily routine, ask about the activities on offer and the general backgrounds of other residents, computer use, and TV use.

The Small Print

Finally, you should ask to see copies of the contracts and a breakdown of fees, as well as information on required deposits. Now might be the time to discuss a potential trial period.

Choosing a care home is an important task, and the responsibility can feel enormous. By using the information above, along with your intuition and general feel about a proposed home, you should feel confident in your decision.