14 October 2019
How To Pick The Perfect Care Home: What To Ask
When choosing a care home for either yourself or a relative, it’s important to ask as many questions as possible – you want to make sure you’re making the right decision. At Hallmark Care Homes, we welcome any and all questions you may have, nothing is off limits. However – we know this can be an overwhelming time – so if you’re not sure where to begin, we’ve put together a list of questions you can take to ask your care home of choice, to make sure you’re choosing somewhere that caters to your needs. We have broken the list up into two sections; questions you should ask the team, and questions you should think about yourself.
Questions to think about yourself when visiting care homes:
When visiting a care home, it may be best to take a few moments to observe the residents. After all, their reactions to the care home are probably the most telling.
How are you greeted on arrival?
When you arrive to view the care home, take note of how you are greeted. If the team are friendly, kind and enthused to greet you, there’s a good chance they act similarly around residents.
Do the residents look happy, are they chatting or engaged in activities?
Look around the common areas when visiting a care home – if the residents are chatting to each other and taking part in activities (such as card or board games, reading, or activities supplied by the home) it’s a positive sign that the residents are encouraged to continue their hobbies and stay active. Hallmark care homes have a dedicated lifestyles team, that arrange a packed calendar of events and activities, so your loved one will always have lots of exciting things to do. In addition to this, residents are welcome to help team with any small jobs they would like to, such as some light cooking.
Does the home look well-kept and the furniture clean and new?
Have a look at the furniture of the home, as well as the general standards of cleanliness and hygiene. Check that furniture doesn’t look worn or old, and that electrical items (such as plug sockets and televisions) appear up to a good, fairly modern standard. Check that bins aren’t overflowing, that the worktops are clean and that things like breakfast dishes are clear and put away.
Do the team seem kind and attentive?
How the team interact with the residents is arguably the most important part of any care home experience, so take stock of how the team connect with the residents – are they kind to them? Are they patient? Do they help them? Do they encourage them to do things by themselves? Do they listen to the residents, and pay attention to their needs?
Do the facilities on offer look like they can accommodate the residents needs?
If your loved one requires mobility aids, or if they have movement issues, they may need special accommodation – such as an adapted bath, wet room or more spacious hallways. Check to see if these requirements are taken into consideration, and if any of the facilities appear to be adapted to your loved ones’ needs – if not, discuss with the care home team about what can be done.
Does the person needing care appear like they are happy with this home? How do they feel?
Of course, the care home could be gorgeous and spotlessly clean – but if the person needing care doesn’t feel comfortable there, it doesn’t matter. Always keep check of how your loved one feels in this environment; whether they thought it felt homely, and if they liked the team.
Questions to ask the care home team:
Are there things nearby or outside that the residents can do?
Ask team members whether residents have activities nearby they can attend, if they’re allowed to visit local amenities like shops and pubs, and if they have access to a nice outside space. For many residents it’s very important to keep a sense of routine when moving to a home to ease the transition, and the places they visit daily are a vital part of this.
What is the food like?
Mealtimes are very important to residents, due to the social aspects as much as the nutritional elements, and the care home should take this into consideration. At Hallmark Care Homes, we offer three meals a day (with varied options) as well as a range of snacks throughout the day. Residents at our care homes can also eat in their rooms, if they wish.
When are visitors allowed? Are they encouraged to take part in activities with the residents, leave the care home with them, or join them at the home for tea?
One of the most important aspects of a care home is the ability to have visitors so check with the team that they can do as they please when visitors arrive. Are the visitors allowed to take the resident out for the day? Can visitors join the resident for a meal, or cup of tea? Are there specific visiting days or hours? Can residents contact family whenever they’d like and how they can do this? Make sure to understand the visiting routine thoroughly, to avoid disappointment or frustration. At Hallmark Care Homes, visitors are welcome any time during the day, and we encourage them to come and join their relative for a meal or take them out.
Are the residents allowed privacy?
It may seem a small point, but the residents’ privacy – and whether they’re allowed it or not – is very important. Ask team whether residents are allowed to go to their rooms alone when they wish to, and if team members respect privacy by knocking on doors before entering.
Are residents allowed to bring their own furnishings and furniture?
Some residents understandably really want to personalise their space – to make it feel like ‘home’. Check whether they can bring furnishings and furniture with them for their bedrooms, and if so, what size items will fit the space. At Hallmark Care Homes, residents can bring not only furniture, but also in many cases small, domestic pets.
Do you celebrate occasions such as Christmas and birthdays?
If events such as Christmas and Easter, and other holidays, like birthdays and special occasions, aren’t celebrated or made to feel ‘special’ it can upset residents, who have their own traditions that they – understandably – would like to stick to. Check how special events are observed, and if any celebration is made over residents’ birthdays, or their personal, religious holidays. At Hallmark Care Homes, we make sure your loved one’s religion is observed – if there are any special religious events they attend, we will do our best to make this can continue to happen.
What happens if the residents’ needs change?
Due to the unpredictable nature of health, it’s important to check how quickly a care home can adapt to fit a residents’ ever-changing needs. This could be prevalent if your loved one develops dementia, or another age-related illness while in care that they previously did not experience. Residents of Hallmark care homes can remain safe in the knowledge we will adapt their situation as fast as their needs change – their safety and wellness are always our priority.
What are the fees, and fee exemptions?
Care home fees, fee exemptions, and ways of paying for care are very important for residents and their families to know. Care must be an affordable option for the resident and their relatives, to make the process as smooth as possible for everyone, and so that no one experiences any anxieties, especially around finances. It can also be a confusing subject to grasp, due to the multiple requirements for exemptions. To find out more about our inclusive fees, please refer to our fees page here, and know that if you have any questions around fees or fee processes, you are always very welcome to contact us.