How to ensure best quality care for elderly

More and more frequently care homes and agencies are being held under a microscope by the press and unfortunately are often found seriously lacking. Considering people expect to be able to see genuine user feedback before making dinner reservations, buying an appliance or booking a holiday it seems common sense to me that care homes and agencies should be reviewed in a similar manner

John Catchpole, whose mother suffered from dementia, said: “Putting a loved one into care and having to choose the right home is one of the hardest decisions a family will have to go through and you want to know your loved one will receive the level of care that they truly deserved.  Any resource that can help with this difficult and painful decision to ensure you choose the right home is welcomed by me.”

Unfortunately, we have uncovered the fact that nearly one in seven families, who have a relative in care, say their loved one is being neglected or mistreated regularly. Whilst there have been many positive reviews and glowing reports of care homes treating patients with respect, the negative ones make for devastating reading and lead us to believe that some members of our society have lost their respect for older people. We know that when it comes to discussing care, eldercare is often the elephant in the room. Where people are quite happy to air their dirty laundry when it comes to childcare, conversations surrounding eldercare are left lurking in the shadows

Diana spoke to us about her family’s horrific experience and used other people’s reviews to help find a new home for her mother when she came home from holiday to find that her children had had to admit their ill grandmother into care in her absence. When Diana visited the home, she immediately felt the atmosphere at the care home was wrong; ‘it smelt disgusting and when I entered my mum’s room it was completely empty, just a bed with no decorations. It felt like a prison cell, it was appalling. I didn’t know much about care homes but I was sure that residents shouldn’t be locked in their rooms!’  Diana’s mum pleaded with her to take her home and while home care wasn’t an option for her, Diana was able to find a new location for her mother with a friendlier atmosphere and more professional staff

It’s unfair to say all care homes mistreat residents. In fact, an analysis of the first thousand reviews posted on the site show that while 1 in 7 reviews are negative, the other 6 are positive. We all know that everyone’s expectations and experiences will be different, but Good Care Guide give you a starting point and helps you make the difficult decision of choosing care for your loved ones.  Looking at reviews is a big part of choosing care for your relatives, and its part of a process that takes time and patience.  But, this is a decision you need to get right.,

When you are looking for care, you need to have a really solid understanding of what you need.  Do you need help in your home or does the individual need round the clock care? Do you need a location close to numerous family members or will you be the one visiting the majority of the time? Not everyone realises that you are entitled to a free assessment of your care needs by your local authority, regardless of where you currently live or whether you will pay for the care yourself. So take the time to get some outside advice from someone who makes it their business to understand your local care home and nursing home providers and how they might or might not meet your requirements

Once you have decided on the level of care you require, hunt around and get a feeling for the kinds of care homes in your area and the level of care people have received who have stayed there in the past. Once you have narrowed down your choices, visit the remaining homes and be sure to talk to residents and staff. Sample a meal and observe other residents in action; you want to have a good understanding of each setting and of what the different homes can offer. Good care homes should be able to provide written information about their care and facilities, as well as fees and contract terms

If you would rather have care in your own home there are a range of services available, from personal care and help with getting up, bathing and dressing, to assistance with practical tasks like cooking, cleaning and shopping. You can also find registered Homecare Agencies on and read customer reviews about their services. From their profile, don’t forget to read their homecare rating inspection report by the Care Quality Commission.  Once you’ve chosen care and have had time to see how your loved one has settled into a setting, remember to return the favour and tell others about your care experience by leaving a personal review and rating the provider. As we like to say, sharing is caring

 Ben Black, Director of Good Care Guide

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