There is a saying ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’. This supplement has been written mainly for the benefit of people looking for a care home that for them is un-known territory.
What follows is a lot to take in but it will be worth it. Each person can simply take from this supplement what they recognise will be important for them.
It may appear to be directed only towards carers, be that partner, family, friend or indeed a neighbour but it is as much for the lone individual looking for a care home for themselves and for those individuals I would stress the need to seek support.
My hope, however, is that this supplement will reach a wider audience and be read by those involved in all areas of care including those who have responsibility for commissioning care. That there will follow an appreciation of how much more needs to be done to raise the standard of care everywhere.
This Supplement needs to be read in conjunction with my Report, Pamela Wells Care Home Report 2009 REPORT 1 and this Report can be viewed on both this website, the website of Counsel and Care and through The Open University. The BBC’s ‘You and Yours’ Radio 4 programme also placed my Report on their website following my interview with them on the 7th June 2010. It might still be available to listen to.
As you will read in my Report, I am a private individual serving my local borough as a volunteer in a number of ways. My experience comes from continuing to care for my husband when he had to enter a care home. I was with him constantly every day for 2 years and what he had to endure and what I witnessed I would never have believed had I not seen it for myself. My Report was written in the hope that it would create an awareness that would help to stop the injustice that is perpetrated on elderly and frail people in far too many care homes for as I later discovered, ours was not an isolated experience.
The purpose of this current Supplement is to help those who will be making the same journey as I had to, which began without having any knowledge of the questions it was important for me to ask. I want others to be better equipped to select a good care home which is run on the principle of a ‘home from home’ environment. In other words – a happy home to live in.
I have not included issues to be considered in regard to the physical structure, design and fabric of care homes.
As I have stated in my Report and in this Supplement (see pages 3, 6 and 7) excellent advice can be obtained from a number of reliable sources and it is important to avail yourself of this.
What follows is a comprehensive list of suggestions that is meant to help, not to cause concern. Do not be put off by its length but use it to your advantage. Remember, the content of this Supplement stems mainly from what I witnessed during the 2 years I spent with my husband in the care home, for so many hours. It may seem a strange thing to say but actually that experience placed me in a privileged position. It gave me the opportunity to observe, at close hand, the running of a care home throughout the day and night. There were staff who cared but too many who did not and that is what needs to be improved.
E-mail: Pado99@btinternet.com Campaigning for Quality Care in Care Homes Pamela Wells © August 2010