Types of Care Home

All care home providers in the country must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

All services are inspected by the CQC, who report on their findings. These inspection reports are available at the service or from the CQC (www.cqc.org.uk).

There are two types of residential home:

Care homes (personal care only)

If you are reasonably active, but would like greater security and care, subject to a needs assessment, a care home offering only personal care may be the best option. Personal care includes bathing, feeding, dressing and help with moving but it must be paid for if your capital including savings exceeds £23,250. This figure may change after April 2015, check with Adult Social Care after this date.

Care homes with nursing

If you think you may need nursing care in a home, you will need to be visited by a social worker or a care manager to work out what care you will need. This visit might be in your own home, or in hospital if you’ve been ill, or in a care home. You will be fully involved in planning your care needs.

If a care home providing nursing care is the best solution for you, your social worker will give you information to help you find a home which meets your care requirements. The cost of the nursing care part of your fees is paid by the NHS to the home directly: the current amount is £110.89 per week for the lower rate and £152.61 per week for the higher rate. This figure may change after April 2015, check with Adult Social Care after this date.

Care homes and dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Society, one third of people with dementia live in a care home and at least two thirds of care home residents in the UK have dementia.

Each person with dementia is a unique human being with individual emotional, physical and social needs and a set of hopes, aspirations and values. Meeting these needs with an individually tailored programme enables the person to experience the best possible quality of life. Subsequently, a good care home will follow the concept of a person-centred approach to care for people with dementia. This means that the unique qualities and interests of each individual will be identified, understood and accounted for in any care planning.

The person with dementia will have an assessment and an on-going personalised care plan, agreed across health and social care that identifies a named care coordinator and addresses their individual needs.

They must also have the opportunity to discuss and make decisions, together with their carers, about the use of  advance statements, advance decisions to refuse treatment, Lasting Power of Attorney and Preferred Priorities of Care.

It is important that care and support options are tailored to the needs of the individual. One size does not fit all. Some options can work well for one individual but prove to be stressful and unsuitable for another person. Make sure staff know the person you care for by providing life story books, telling staff about their likes and dislikes and providing belongings that bring comfort and have meaning for the person you care for.

Within the home, much is down to the attitude and skills of the manager and the staff. Do they provide an environment that enables a person with dementia to exercise choice and personal preferences even in the later stages of the condition? Who is the person in charge of championing dementia care best practice in the home?

Activities in care homes

The word ‘activity’ can imply many different things but in the context of a care home it should mean everything a resident does from when they open their eyes in the morning until they go to sleep at night. Choosing what colour cardigan to wear can be an enjoyable activity to start the day. Watching your favourite TV programmes or listening to the birds sing might bring a smile. Attending an exercise class might make you feel better. All of these can be defined as ‘activities’. Above all they can provide a point of interest, fun and challenge to each day.

Lots of care homes now employ a dedicated Activity Coordinator. What they do and how varies from one home to another. In the best homes they are fully integrated into the staff team, play a key part in developing care plans and ensure that all staff appreciate the part they play in delivering high quality activity provision.