There can be many reasons for someone requiring a move to a care home from being less able to do the things you used to do, recurring falls or starting to feel lonely. Care homes have trained staff on hand, which may help to remove risks you may face at home. It is perfectly normal to have conflicted feelings about a care home move for yourself or a family member. So what are the things you should think about before moving into care accommodation?
Different types of care homes
There are different types of care homes. Care homes have staff who assist with personal care (washing, dressing, toileting, medication prompts) and will often have social events, outings or activities. Nursing homes are similar to a care home however, they also offer 24 hour assistance from qualified nurses. Some care homes will be able to accept both residents who require personal care and/or nursing care. There are also specialist care homes, for example homes that may be specifically designed for those living with dementia or have specialist training in relation to specific conditions. Care homes can be owned by private companies, voluntary/charitable organisations or the local authority.
Move to care accommodation
The social work department of the local authority for your area should be able to arrange a care needs assessment. This involves a social care professional visiting your home to assess what you can and can’t do, what help you are receiving at present, your needs, etc. The assessment looks at options in order to identify if you could continue living in your current home (perhaps with support or adaptations) or if a move to care accommodation would be the best course of action. The local authority has a duty to make sure your needs are met safely. If you are able to make decisions and communicate decisions for yourself (or have an attorney who is able to make decisions for you where you lack capacity) you have the right to choose to remain at home.
Paying for care
Following your care needs assessment the local authority will ask you/a family member or attorney to complete a financial assessment to determine whether you should pay for your care (self-funding), make a contribution to your care (part-funding), or if you meet the criteria for your care to be paid for.
Selling your home
It is not always the case that your home will require to be sold. The value of your home will not be considered if your spouse/civil partner/partner, relative over 60 or relative under 60 who has a disability lives there. Should your home be taken into account in the financial assessment there are options available. The local authority should make you aware of the Deferred Payment Scheme, which means the property does not require to be sold immediately.
Finding the right care home
Ask others about their experiences. Search online (or have someone do this for you) and look at inspection reports and reviews of care homes local to you. If you have a long-term condition perhaps contact a local specialist organisation for advice. You should ensure that the care home provides the level of care required (or could need in the future), check if the home has vacancies and if it doesn’t find out how long the waiting list is. When you find the right place for you/your relative you can visit the care home (more than once) and may even decide to have a trial period (or respite break) to see how you like your chosen home.
When moving in, you should be provided with a contract from the care home. You should check the fees and what they cover, any additional or top-up charges you will require to meet, how temporary absences are charged (i.e. hospital stays), notice period for leaving etc. Make sure you know exactly what you are being charged for.
It may take a little time for you to fully settle in. This is only natural. You are moving to a different environment, routine, and will be living with different people etc. To make the transition easier you can make sure you have photographs or items that are important to you in your room to make it more homely (e.g. music /soft furnishings/own bedding). Talk to staff about your routine, your likes and dislikes, etc. This should help staff to make your transition to your new home as easy as possible for you. Find out if there are activities you may wish to take part in, as this is a good way to meet other residents.
Should you require further information on paying for residential care, Deferred Payment Schemes, gifting your property please check our earlier blogs or contact a member of our Private Client Team who will be happy to assist .