It was lovely to see so many of you ladies on the Zoom Ladies First call a couple of weeks ago. It made me realise just how much I am missing our regular breakfast or lunchtime meetings and familiar faces.
I thought this may be a good time to try to dispel some of the current myths and concerns around a move into a care home, especially as, over the last weeks and months, all care homes have been in ‘lockdown’. So many potential clients of mine are confused as to what the term ‘lockdown’ means, especially within a care home environment and for their loved one.
Many families fear that all the residents are confined to their bedroom and will not let out until we are virus free. Other families worry that their family members, already living in the care home, will be exposed to Coronavirus from new residents coming in from home or hospital.
These fears are being compounded with constant media stories stating that Coronavirus is rife in all care homes and that all residents are at constant risk of dying or at least developing Coronavirus symptoms.
Well, to expel one or two of the myths, over the last few weeks, I have been in contact with many local and not so local care home managers. They have taken the time to explain their infection control policies, the use of agency staff, the testing of staff and residents and their current restrictions in place.
From gathering this information, I have gleaned that most care homes are now testing both their residents and care staff on a weekly basis, all of the care homes had sufficient PPE to manage their risk to staff and residents and that their staff were fully engaged in keeping residents happy, stimulated and safe, all contrary to media belief!
I have also gleaned that most care homes have had a small number of cases of Covid 19, some now totally free of the virus and others having policies in place to manage any new cases. Wherever possible, the care homes I have spoken with, have done their utmost to avoid any resident being taken into hospital.
For any new resident being admitted into the care home, a care assessment takes place over the telephone, information gathered from either the hospital ward, family, or home care provider. If the potential resident is coming from hospital, a Covid 19 test must take place prior to discharge and the new resident is cared for in their own room for between 7-14 days depending on the outcome of the test. Once the resident has a negative test after the 7-14 days, they are then allowed out into the home to enjoy the facilities and stimulation of the care home.
As a daughter of an 88-year-old father, I have been asked whether I would I place my father into a care home at this moment in time should there be a need. My answer, hand on heart, is that I’d prefer not to, but, if there were no other option and in his best interest, I would take all the necessary steps to ensure that due diligence took place and that I was involved with the process at every step of the way.
So many people are now stating that they would keep a family member at home in the future, rather than placing them into a care home. There are many scenarios where leaving someone living at home could be a risk. A lack of companionship, different carers going in and out (especially if the care package were put into place by the local authority), limited stimulation and possible neglect.
In all the years that I have worked within the care industry, I have never seen anyone choosing to go into a care home just because they want to. There is always a need involved.
My role as an independent care advisor is to try to negate the ‘risk’ involved with a move into a care home. I take an ‘umbrella’ approach to the situation, looking at the finances, legalities, location, care needs and the individual themselves. Sometimes the person at the heart of the decision can be forgotten, taken over by cost and care needs.
That person was once like you and I, living independently, running a home, looking after children or grandchildren and managing a successful career. I seek to find that person and do my absolute best, sometimes in difficult circumstances, to achieve a new life for them, within an appropriate care home environment and with care staff that bother to take the time to recognise the true person underneath the care need.
If any of the above content resonates with you, or you would like to have an informal, confidential, chat about a family member, or friend, you have some concerns over, please do feel free to pick up the phone, or take a look at my website for further information about the services that I can offer.