Choosing a Care Home – Top 5 things to Consider

16 Mar, 2021

1. Does the Care Home offer the right kind of care?

People often look at the images on websites of care homes or talk to friends about the care homes their loved ones live in without really knowing what kind of care the home offers.

It is vitally important when choosing a care home that you make sure that they can provide the right kind of care and the correct level of care you require. It is a complicated and disruptive process without having to go through the whole thing again if your loved one’s care needs to increase a few months later. Some care homes, for instance, are not able to support people who develop dementia or complex care needs.

At Towerview Care, we provide care for people living with complex care needs, which may include behaviours that challenge dementia, and or mental health care needs.

Complex and behaviours that challenge

Complex behaviour that may be challenging is a widespread issue for people with dementia. It can reduce the quality of life, increase caregiver stress, and increase institutionalisation and hospital admission risk.

In the context of the people we support, behaviours that may be challenging usually includes one or a combination of:

  • Repetitive talking or shouting
  • Throwing things
  • Wandering around
  • Biting
  • Trying to destroy objects
  • Agitation and general anger

The terms’ challenging’ or ‘complex’ behaviour describe any actions by the person deemed distressing or disruptive to themselves or others.

Our experts, including our Psychology team, are highly experienced at observing and assessing challenging behaviours and seek to establish the causes and triggers of the behaviour.

Our knowledgeable care team favours using non-pharmacological and non-physical methods to de-escalate situations. Our practices lead to a reduction in challenging behaviour and help to improve quality of life.

You can find out more about our complex and behaviours that may be challenging here.

Dementia Care

Dementia poses unique and evolving challenges for those living with the condition, for their loved ones, and their carers. Many people find dealing with dementia stressful and emotionally challenging. With over 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and those numbers rising all the time, it is more important than ever to find experienced care for your loved ones.

At Towerview Care, we have extensive experience dealing with all types of dementia, including early-onset dementia and related issues. We offer dementia care in a calm and therapeutic environment and use person-centred meaningful activities to support those with dementia.

The activities and events we provide aim to improve the quality of life and further enhance individuals’ interests and retain life skills.

Older people playing cards

Maintaining independence

We believe a thriving community is the foundation of a happy home. Our teams actively support everyone, including loved ones, to get involved in the home’s community life by sharing mealtimes, social events, and relaxation time together.

Our ladies and gentlemen are nurtured and encouraged to take responsibility for as much of their own personal care as they are able. Everyone is encouraged to make our home their home, and we support people to decorate and furnish to their tastes. This approach to care makes the experience of dementia care more positive, rewarding and fulfilling for everyone and helps people to maintain their independence for as long as possible.

To find out more about our holistic person-centred approach to dementia care, please click here. 

talking about mental health

Mental Health

Mental health is as vital as physical health and well-being for people living with complex care needs and dementia. Depression or anxiety are common symptoms for people with complex care and or dementia, especially when they may be aware of their deteriorating capabilities.

One in four people aged over 65 live with depression, and 40% of people aged 85 or over live with debilitating depression that affects their ability to engage in daily activities. Depression in later life is strongly linked to physical ill health and disability.

We work closely with our local authority community mental health teams and NHS acute mental health services. We work to arrange assessments and plan for appropriate and timely hospital discharges. In addition, we continually consult a range of leading mental health specialists to ensure that we are offering the very best standards of care. As a result, we work in a safe, supportive, specially adapted environment that maximises a person’s independence and enhances their self-esteem.

The care we provide is individual, flexible, and diverse and is provided by a multi-disciplinary team comprised of registered nurses, care staff, occupational therapists and psychologists. Regular reviews are conducted with other healthcare professionals, family, and friends, if appropriate, to ensure individuals’ best interests are fully supported and represented.

The therapeutic living environment within a Care Home

Our living environments create an atmosphere of hope and optimism delivered by our specialist teams through empathetic and supportive relationships. Our care teams have undertaken bespoke training, including understanding conditions and the promotion of independence.

You can find out more about our mental health care team here.

Respite Care

What are the benefits of respite care?

As a carer, you’ll be able to take time out to relax, recharge your batteries or take care of business knowing that your loved one is receiving exceptional care in a warm, caring, safe and professional environment. You can visit or call at any time to make sure that your loved one is happy and well cared for.

Respite care can also be a wonderful break for your loved one. It can allow them to enjoy a change of scenery, try out some new activities and make new friends and memories.

Our respite care can also provide an opportunity for you to find out whether your loved one would be happy here in the longer term if ever needed.

Care is available from as short-term as a week to as long as a few months. We work around you and your loved one’s needs and tailor our care to suit you.

You can find out more about our respite care here.

Respite care

End of Life Care

What is ‘End of Life Care’?

End of life care aims to support someone in the later stages of a life-limiting condition to live as well as possible until they die. It also seeks to support the family during this time and after the person dies.

Specialist skills

Caring for someone during the final days of their life requires specialist skills and understanding. We are committed to making sure that our end of life care respects and upholds a person’s dignity. Our specialist team can assist with any arrangements that you need help with. Above all, our team are here to help you all feel as comfortable as possible during this time.

The care staff have undertaken specialist training in palliative care and work closely with people and their families to provide practical support, advice and understanding.

You can find out more about our end of life care here.

2.What are the costs, and do they have vacancies? 

How care is paid for will depend on the individual situation. Who pays is based on an assessment of you or your loved one’s needs and (in most cases) the financial situation. For some people, the local authority or the NHS will pay the fees, and others will need to pay for themselves. In some cases, it can be a combination of these, but if the NHS is paying all or part, no further personal contribution will be necessary.

We aim to ensure that you have the very best advice and guidance as each NHS trust and the local authority does things differently. We can advise you and support you to find funding.

If you would like us to help you with this, one of our registered manager or matrons will be happy to talk through the process with you. Or you can also call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or speak to your local authority or NHS trust directly.

Are there any extras

It is essential to make sure that you know if there are any extra costs involved and what they are for. For instance, is it personal expenditure for things like clothing? Are there additional Administration fees for new residents? Annual community fees or upfront deposits, and if so, when are they payable?

Once you have established what costs are involved and that the home provides the right kind of care. You need to make sure they have a vacancy, and if not, do they have a waiting list.

The best way to find out information about the vacancies is to call the home. Websites have some information, but they are often out of date, which can cause disappointment and frustration. Ask to speak to the homes registered manager or matron, this way, you are assured to be talking to the most senior member of the team. If they do not have any vacancies, ask if there is a waiting list and how long it is.

It may be that the waiting list is too long; some care homes have very long waiting lists. Specialist care and nursing homes often take emergency referrals from hospitals, so they don’t have waiting lists at all. Each has its own processes, so it is always worth checking what they do.

To speak to one of our matrons about an informal chat or a visit, please click here. 

Location of care home is key

3. Location, location, location

Location is significant when considering a care home; you want it to be easily accessible to family and friends so that your loved one has plenty of visitors. Ideally, it will be near good public transport links and, of course, parks, shops, and places of worship for your loved one to visit on days out.

Remember that choosing a care home is a little bit like looking for your first house! Only by visiting a few will you find out what you do and don’t want, and only you and your loved one know what is essential to them. For some people, they must be somewhere small and quiet, while others want lots of activities. Some homes can provide both and lots more besides, with pools, hair salons, alternative treatment rooms etc. it all depends on what is important to you or your loved one.

Questions, questions, questions

The best thing to do is to go armed with some questions. Some homes like Towerview Care homes encourage their ladies and gentlemen to decorate and bring their own furniture to truly make their rooms their own. If this is important to you and your loved one, make sure you put this on your list and take a tape measure to make sure a piece will fit where you want it.

If your loved one is a keen gardener, ask about gardening clubs and ask to see the gardens. Does the home have an LDS kitchen (Living Daily Skills) where your loved one can keep up their love of cooking? If they are a foodie, ask for a copy of the menu and see if you can organise your tour of the home at lunch or dinner time so you can sample the food. Ask about visiting times, are their set times, is it an open-door policy, are mealtimes protected times?

First impression checklist:

  • Does the home look clean and in good repair?
  • Does it smell fresh?
  • Do the ladies and gentlemen look happy?
  • Do the staff seem friendly and happy?

You can find out more about the Towerview Care Group of homes here. 

4. Rating and Review  

In this day and age, would you book a hotel without first looking them up on TripAdvisor? No, so it stands to reason that you would check out a care home in the same way.

The first place to look, though, isn’t google, it is the industry’s regulators. All care and nursing homes in England are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). Once inspected, they are awarded one of the following ratings: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate. Most care homes have these reports on their own websites. If they don’t, you can find them on CQC’s own website here. 

Another way to see what people think of a care home is by visiting their Facebook page. This usually gives you a great insight into the kind of activities the home does and what friends and family think of the home and staff.

Facebook pages for Towerview Care Groups

Bridge Burton and Trent Facebook page posts

To see more from Bridge Burton and Trent Courts Facebook page please click here.

Pennine Lodges Facebook Page

To see more from Pennine Lodges Facebook page please click here

Facebook posts for Loxley Court

To see more Facebook posts for Loxley Court please click here

Asquith Hall Facebook posts

To see more posts from Asquith Hall Facebook page please click here.

Bridge Burton and Trent 5 star google review

5. Communication 

When a loved one moves into a care home, it is because they have considerable care needs. It isn’t easy for those family members who have had to make the decision. Many have reported an overwhelming sense of guilt and worry about whether their loved one being is being well cared for and if they resent them for the move.

These fears are entirely natural and why we firmly believe that communication is the key, especially in those first few months when your loved one is settling in. It is vital to establish key-lines of communication and to lay out what you want and expect from the home. Talking to the matron and registered manager about this is the first step. Before someone moves in, we talk to the individual moving in to find out all about their likes and dislikes to put together a life story. This way we can be sure of a smooth transition and the family can be assured that their loved one is in the very best hands.

At Towerview Care we know how important regularly communication is and that families like to see what their loved one is doing. We send regular activity cards home with photos of what loved ones have been doing and where they have been. This kind of communication means that families are always aware of their loved one’s achievements but we encourage people to become involved in the homes community life as well.

New Ways of Communicating

This past year has changed the way we all do and think about communications. We have had to rely on technology more than ever before however, this has meant that for some families they have been able to have lots more contact than before. It has opened up visiting for families who lived miles away or indeed aboard as they have now been able to keep in touch with a regular video call.

Listening is an incredibly important part of communication and as providers of nursing and care support, we are passionate about this part of our service. We take feedback incredibly seriously and listen to our ladies and gentlemen, families, professionals, and staff to make sure that we are providing the very highest standards of care and nursing we possibly can. Our policies of openness and respect permeate through all our actions. This openness is a core part of our approach, the people we support always come first.

You can find out more about the Towerview Care Group or to speak to one of the managers of our homes please click here.