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Frequently asked questions about care homes

From how your loved one will be kept safe to activities programmes, we answer the top questions people have when their loved one goes into a care home.

When our loved ones go into a care home it can give us mixed feelings and emotions. We’re relieved that they will be able to get the specialised care they require, we also can’t help but worry about their happiness and wellbeing.

If your loved one is receiving NHS funded nursing care and going into a care home, read on to find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions by concerned relatives.

How will you keep my loved one safe?

We spoke to lifestyle blogger Emma from Lifeofemmax. After her grandmother had been in the hospital for the last few weeks, Emma’s biggest concern was whether she would be receiving the level of care she needed.

“My main concern was how my grandma would be kept safe and whether she’d get the right care for her. She’d spent the previous 6 weeks in various hospitals, therefore I wanted to make sure she was going to be well looked after.

“I think putting a loved one into care is a very challenging and overwhelming time for everyone. Dealing with a new environment for someone elderly is daunting to say the least.”

Sunrise Senior Living has care homes up and down the UK. Sunrise of Fleet’s Director of Community Relations, Lucy Jesse, told us how the resident’s safety and level and care is often the top concern of the family.

“Working out the best place for your loved ones to live is obviously a big decision, so before any resident moves in we have detailed conversations with families about every aspect of our care services and community.

“At Sunrise of Fleet, we take a multifaceted approach to reducing risk for residents. Our care is personalised, so each member of the team knows the specific mobility requirements for each resident. Alongside this, we utilise the latest technology: we have sensors to alert the care team when someone gets up from the bed or chair, as well as door sensors and personal pendant systems that connect the team to residents whenever they need assistance 24 hours a day.”

Emma told us how her grandmother’s care home put her and her family at ease.

“The care home ensured us that the care given to everyone in the home was suited to each person, whether it be regular visits from the nurses or more independent living. We got a tour of the building which really helped to ensure the right decision was being made. Talking to the friendly staff was reassuring and helped allow the decision to be made. Looking back on when my grandma was there, the staff were all very

What activity programmes do you offer?

Although each care home will be different, there will always be a wealth of activities and entertainment options for a range of abilities.

“We get asked a lot about our activities programme and how we keep our residents stimulated and entertained,” says Lucy. “At Sunrise of Fleet, we have an average of six activities a day and pride ourselves on providing an innovative, vibrant programme. To keep residents active, we have daily exercise classes including seated Pilates, Tai chi and Zumba. For those more interested in socialising and education, we have frequent ‘brain exercise’ and ‘reminiscing’ sessions doing puzzles, studying historical events and listening to music.”

How will my loved one be made to feel at home?

Erica blogs about family life over at Nine to Three Thirty. She says that when your loved one goes into care, it’s important to know how they will be made to feel comfortable and at home.

“I was concerned about how the care home would make my grandmother feel welcome and at home. They did this by letting her bring some items from home and putting up hooks for family calendars and pictures to hang on the wall. This made it seem more familiar and more like her home. They also looked after the residents in small groups centred around a kitchenette, dining and living room area (one for each group) which helped give the home a much closer family feeling.”

What will the food and mealtimes be like?

When her grandmother went into a care home briefly, lifestyle blogger Jo from Tea and Cake for the Soul wanted to know how the care home would cater to her grandmother’s mealtime needs.

“My grandmother went into a care home for a week whilst my parents (her carers) went on holiday. We were fortunate that my great aunt was already in that home so had no qualms about her staying there, although for reassurance we asked about what the meals were and meal times.”

Lucy says this is a common question relatives have, but the care home will always ensure each resident’s unique needs are catered for.

“Understandably, we are also commonly asked about what the food is like and whether we can cater to individual dietary requirements. At Sunrise, we understand that food is really important in caring for our residents. All food is freshly prepared and cooked on site, choice and variety is key and our menu has been planned so that all the key nutrients are included.”

As well as looking after the individual needs of their residents, Lucy says Sunrise of Fleet will also ask for feedback from residents.

“We value the input of residents and hold monthly dining meetings where they can feedback to the chefs and make suggestions. We also offer alternatives if they don’t want anything on the menu. We cater for all allergies and intolerances, as well as specialised diets such a puréeing food for residents with swallowing difficulties.”

Can my loved one leave for a day trip?

Another thing Erica wondered when her grandmother went into care was whether she’d be allowed to leave on a day trip and how easy it would be to organise.

“It proved quite easy to do this as the home were very happy to accommodate us. If we let them know a bit in advance (say the day before or first thing in the morning), they’d make sure that she was dressed and ready to go when we arrived. The home had good private parking, so it was easy to shuttle my grandmother between the home and the car either under her own steam or with a basic wheelchair that the home provided.”

You’re not always going to be able to take your loved one out, so some care homes actually offer day trips for residents, provided they’re fit to do so.

“We offer three bus trips a week for residents that like to get out and about, as well as monthly events like trips to the seaside,” says Lucy. “We have a lot of fun and our activities programme is a really good way to cater to our residents’ needs, in particular supporting those with dementia to stay socially engaged and live well.”

Although each care home is different, one thing remains the same: the carers will always ensure your loved one is looked after and their unique needs are taken care of. The care home will have a lot of information already on their website regarding activities and facilities, but if you’re ever unsure or have concerns, a quick phone call to the home is sure to put you at ease.

Do you need advice about care home funding? Get in touch with our care home funding experts today on 0121 227 8940 or visit our website.

Author: Tim Davies LLB

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