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Health Extra

How much do you

In recent months care homes have attracted great swathes of publicity, much of it negative, for a wide variety of social, regulatory and economic reasons. What is often lost in the reporting are the host of positive aspects of life in a care home and the fact that choosing to move to the right care home can be a whole new beginning where you can be cared for, be very comfortable and make a host of new friends in a safe and secure environment.

Whether we’re thinking about your own future care or the care of a loved one, we need to be sure that the places we’re considering have a good reputation and can offer the levels of care we’re anticipating will be needed, both now and into the future.

Finding quality residential care can be a daunting prospect. There are many homes to choose from and it’s often difficult to know where to start, but with the right kind of help and advice in the beginning, it should be easier to find and identify the most appropriate places and providers.

There’s normally a wealth of brochures and information freely available from most providers and also from local authorities, but it’s not a good idea to make decisions regarding care purely from written information alone, so our friends at local care provider, Hartford Care have taken time out to give us some helpful pointers: For many of us, the three key elements that constitute a good

quality home can be summarised as Care, Comfort and Companionship...

Care First and foremost when short-listing homes, ascertain the care provision that is available. It’s important to actually meet with the Home Manager and ask for a good look round if you’re interested. This can establish if the home can meet your current care needs and if the care team will be able to meet any developing needs which could include dementia or nursing needs that not all homes can cater for, and could eventually mean a move to another home. Ask how the care team will assess your individual requirements and create a plan of care that is bespoke to your needs and preferences. As food plays an essential role in promoting health and well- being it is also a good idea to take a look at the menus and sample the food. Find out if the food is home made not just home cooked - a subtle, yet important difference.

26 Life Begins


Comfort When you visit each home, take account of its location and establish whether it is easily accessible and close to local amenities. Will your relatives be able to visit easily? Will you be able to retain links with your local church or GP? As you view the home itself take a good look around and judge for yourself whether you think the buildings and grounds are well maintained and easily accessible. Are the rooms newly decorated and tastefully furnished? Is there a nurse call system? Perhaps most importantly, does the accommodation appear clean, cared for and odour free?

Companionship Many of the homes that you view will of course ‘tick all the boxes’ with regards to the care and facilities that they provide. Ultimately, your decision should be based on whether you believe that you or your loved one will be happy living there. To answer this question, spend time in the home, visit at different times of the day and turn up without appointment. Observe how residents and staff interact, is the relationship they portray one you would be happy with? Speak to staff and judge whether you would feel comfortable in their care,. Are they welcoming and interested or too busy to chat? Ask if the home employs an Activities Organiser. Will you be able to continue your existing hobbies? Are there opportunities to try new activities or get out and about? Chatting to residents you meet on your visits will also give you a great insight into what life in each home is really like and if it is the right home for you. In short, choosing a care home is a lot like buying a house, you will need to do plenty of research and ‘box ticking’ but ultimately, if the home feels right for you then you’ve almost certainly found the right one!

Article written with the kind co-operation of Jo Gavin, Operations Director at Hartford Care (

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