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When choosing a care home, it’s important to find one that is high quality, so that you or your relative can receive only the best care. There are a number of factors that you can examine to assess whether or not a care home is a good one, including safety, effectiveness of care, responsiveness, leadership, and whether the staff get to know and care about their residents.
The most important feature of a good care home is that it needs to be safe for all the residents. All equipment should be maintained regularly and kept in good working order, and should always be used correctly in line with manufacturer instructions.
Another aspect of safety is social safety. A good care home should have policies in place to ensure that all residents feel safe, and are free from harassment, abuse, and bullying. All caregivers should have had background checks.
Finally, all medicines should be kept securely and correctly. Residents should feel informed when taking medications and should have the opportunity to review medications and medical care at appropriate times. You can read the most recent inspection report for the home, by either asking the home for it or requesting one from your country’s care quality regulator.
Next, consider how effective the care is. Effective care means that all aspects of the care home, including food, furnishings, and staff should be good quality. Look at whether friends and family will be able to reach you easily there, and whether the care home has good access such as wheelchair ramps and lifts.
A specialist team that works with negligence cases in care homes, explained that the "Staff should have appropriate qualifications and training to provide good care, and should make sure that you have a good quality of life in the care home. This includes giving you the correct food and drink, always asking for your consent to treatments, speaking to GPs and other health professionals when necessary, and asking you about your likes and dislikes so that changes to your treatment or living circumstances can be made where possible."
A good care home is a responsive one, and a written plan should be available for each resident. This plan should specify your care, support, and treatment information, as well as your goals and plans for your life. High-quality care homes provide support to ensure that residents aren’t lonely, and are able to maintain old hobbies or start new ones.
When examining a care home, check to see whether staff are welcoming and friendly. If you speak another language, ask the care home whether they have any staff who will be able to communicate with you in that preferred language.
The leadership of the home should have a clear structure, and it should be easy to find out who the manager is. Check to see that staff are happy and ask about how high the staff turnover is. There should also be a good ratio of staff to residents at all times.
The care home should have a policy in place for reporting issues up the management chain, and management should always be willing to listen to and respond to concerns. They should be honest about any issues that the care home is managing.
Finally, make sure that the home has a caring approach to patient needs. Staff should know who you are, what your background is, and what your likes and dislikes are. They should get to know you. Residents should always be encouraged to express their views and feelings, and should be met with understanding and active listening.