Questions to ask when choosing a prospective service
The choice of care service needs careful consideration. You need to have confidence in the people delivering the care and feel a happy and warm atmosphere.
As the choice of care service is often made at a vulnerable time, the following frequently asked questions may be useful.
Q: What is a Care Home?
A: The term Care Home is used to cover any home that offers accommodation and personal care. Some homes also provide Nursing Care.
Q: What type of service is best for my relative / friend?
A: It is vital to choose the right type of care service. If a home cannot offer the level of support needed it will not be suitable. If a home that usually looks after people with more intense needs than your relative / friend they may feel out of place.
Q: Can I ask for an assessment?
A: The local authority social services department has a duty to assess the needs of anyone who might need its services. So if you are considering the move to a care home, supported living or domiciliary care, you are almost certainly entitled to an assessment. The local authority will then suggest what level of care your relative / friend requires.
Q: Who is responsible for paying for the Care service?
A: Each individual’s circumstances are different. (See below)
Q: How can I find out if the local authority will pay / contribute to the cost?
A: After the assessment your local authority social services department will advise what if any financial assistance will be available to you.
Factors such as your relatives / friends income, savings and other assets will influence the potential contributions made.
The local authority should look at your relatives / friends finances after it has assessed their needs. You should not be denied a needs assessment because your relative / friend has too much money.
Q: Should the NHS pay my fees (Nursing Home)
A: The NHS is responsible for meeting some care home fees in full. It should pay the full cost if you have been assessed as having needs that are primarily health based. Residents in care homes that provide nursing care are most likely to qualify for full NHS funding but residents in other homes or their own home can be asked to be assessed.
Q: How do I find a suitable service?
A: The following links will take you to sites that provide a list of homes in your preferred area.
The local authority
The Care Quality Commission who are the national regulatory body
The Elderly Accommodation Council
Q: Once I have found a care service how do I make sure its right for my relative / friend?
A: Always try to visit a care service before deciding to place your relative / friend there. Take a list of points that are important and specific to you. Below is an extensive suggested list, not all of the points mentioned will be of significance to you.
An occupational therapist
Does the care service have a pre admission statement / service user’s guide?
Does the care service offer a trial period?
What is the homes policy on pets?
Does the home offer a varied diet and alternatives?
Can my relative / friend see the daily menu?
Can my relative / friend have an early morning hot drink?
Can my relative / friend have breakfast in bed or do they have to go to the dining room.
Is lunch and supper served in the dining room or can my relative / friend eat in their room if preferred?
Can my relative / friend get drinks at any time of the day?
Does the home cater for special dietary needs and would there be any extra cost?
Could you look after my relative / friend if they were blind or deaf?
Would my relative / friends visitors be able on occasion to join them for a meal?
What are the care service fees?
Can my relative / friend afford the fees on a long term basis?
How often do the fees increase?
What is not included in the care services fees?
Are the fees payable in advance?
Is there a contract?
Is there a notice period required on leaving the care service?
Is there a complaints procedure?
Q: What if we choose a care service in a different area?
A: You may wish your relative/friend to go to a care care service in a different local council district to the one where they currently live. This could be because you would like your relative / friend to be near relatives or the place where they grew up.
If they have been assessed as needing care and your local council has agreed to pay for them, then they are normally responsible for your relative / friends fees if you choose a care service somewhere else.
Q: Our decision is made – what do we do now?
A: Contact the care provider to tell them of your decision. They will arrange to carry out a pre-admission assessment. If you are funding your own care seek independent financial advice.
Notify your social worker of your decision.
If you are moving from a hospital to a new home the hospital will make arrangements for your move.
If you are moving from your home to a nursing or residential home ask a friend or relative to help pack your possessions and organise transport.
If you have no one to help you, your local social services department, health visitor, Help the Aged, Age Concern may be able to suggest someone to assist you.
Q: What to do if I have a problem or complaint?
A: If you have a problem with a care service, first try to resolve it through informal discussions or, if necessary, through the internal complaints procedure.
Where the dispute relates to the standard of care you can raise the matter with the regulatory body for care providers. If the local authority arranged your relative / friends care, it retains responsibility for ensuring that the received care is suitable.
Each local authority is required to operate a complaints procedure and to make available information about how to complain.
We hope your relative/friend settles quickly into his/her new environment and that these Q&A’s have helped you to make an informed and positive decision.