1st May 2015

A step by step guide to finding the best care home - Part 3

Checklist of questions to ask a care home.

Take a photo of the care home before you go in, so that subsequent photos will remind you which home you took them in.

1. How is food cooked, is it freshly prepared on the premises, frozen or delivered?
2. What time is food served and is there a dedicated dining room? Can your relative eat in their room if preferred? Are mealtimes flexible?
Are special diets catered for?
Can residents prepare their own drinks and snacks?
Can residents choose what and when they eat?
Does the home cater for relatives and friends to eat with residents?
Is there a garden and outdoor space? Is this space accessible for residents with dementia?
If your relative is a smoker are there dedicated areas?
How many lounges are there and is there one without a TV?
What activities are going on in the communal lounges whilst you are visiting?
If your relative has reduced mobility are there hand rails/a lift/ramps?
What are the languages spoken in the home?
Does the home encourage residents to do as much as possible themselves and make their own decisions about how they live their lives?
Are there visiting times?
To what extent can residents bring in their own personal possessions? Can they bring in their own bed for example?
Can residents choose what time they get up and go to bed?
Is there a telephone point in the room?
Does the room have an en suite shower/wet room?
What is the view like out of the window?
What size is the room?
Is it just a bedroom that is being offered or is there a kitchenette?
Does the home have apartments with a separate bedroom and living area?
What floor is your relative likely to be living on? Usually residents with dementia are on the first or second floor, ensure there is outside space or that residents are regularly taken out for fresh air.
What activities does the home offer? (Take a photo of the activities board).
Are books available and can newspapers be delivered?
How are valuable items kept secure?
Do residents have their own GP?
Is there a residents committee?
Are toilets available and accessible in all parts of the home?
Can wheelchairs go everywhere, including outside?
How often can residents have a bath and is the bathroom warm and welcoming?
Is there a hairdresser? Are other services available i.e. a manicure or massage?
Do chiropodists/opticians and dentists visit the home regularly?
Does the home provide end of life care or would the resident need to move if their care requirements changed?
Can a relative stay overnight if necessary?
Does the home offer respite care or a ‘try before you buy’ option?
What are the staffing ratios? These vary depending upon the type of care offered.

At Chosen with Care we want to inform families, before there is a crisis, about the issues that need to be considered when you are looking for a care home. At a recent care event that we organised, we talked about everything to do with care. At the event we spoke to a lovely couple and received this testimonial - 'My Mum spoke to me for quite a while on Sunday, to say how impressed she had been and how glad they were they had gone along. Both my Nanna and Grandma had dementia before they died and my Uncle has it now. They did not know about the affect small strokes have on developing Dementia and following the advice they received, my Dad is going to attend his doctors and demand an MRI scan, as he had a stroke about a year ago. Thank you from myself as well, this has been really helpfully for my parents.' Jonathan H.