Care Home Quest

Heading East in the morning to spend time with Mother at the hospital, and to view nursing homes.

Sorry, I mean care homes with nursing that specialise in looking after residents with dementia.

It pays to get the vocabulary right, or too late you find you have had an entire conversation at cross purposes.

You also learn to watch for the loaded phrase, such as ‘best interests’ and understand how that is defined by the Mental Capacity Act.

Since the notes for guidance to this act has been my bedtime reading for about eighteen months, I’ve become quite good at spotting these which some professionals use as conversational landmines.

The specialising in dementia part is important too. When it was understood that Mother’s house is not worth a fortune, and that social services will not be recouping from a bottomless pot when it is sold, it was suggested that Mother’s needs could be met in a home without the dementia specialism.
This on the grounds that her dementia leads her to call everyone darling and say she loves them, rather than chucking jugs of cold water over them. So she would be easy to manage. Nothing about the need for staff to understand where she is coming from.

But isn’t she being deprived of rehab under the NHS because of her dementia? Doesn’t this cut both ways?

So, we said it was not in Mother’s best interest to go to a home where staff are not skilled at working with people living with dementia. We’ve seen quite enough of that in hospital thanks.

Trouble is, our shortlist is very short. We’ve struggled to find four homes. Two of these are in awkward locations. A third, whose the manager was very friendly and positive on the ‘phone, does not have en suite loos and showers. Which leaves us with one.

A while ago there was a wonderful comedy series on Radio 4 called Beauty of Britain, where Beauty Olonga, star of a gospel choir, works as a carer for the elderly through an agency. Coming from a different culture, her perception f care homes, which she describes as all being named after trees and places where we leave our relatives when we don’t want to look after them any more.

I find I’m thinking about it more and more frequently.

10 thoughts on “Care Home Quest

  1. Oh hell.

    It doesn’t help your decision making one iota but I’m so relieved that we did the research, came to much the same conclusions and thankfully, and I mean this, we didn’t have to make these dreadful decisions. It was a constant worry, and you and your mother have my utmost sympathy.

    Do your best, is all I can say, but you know that you get little help from anywhere.

    It’s absolutely frightening, Isobel, and to be honest, even if you have the money, the choices are not much better.

    • Thanks Araminta.
      I think she’ll probably stay in hospital for a while yet, but with the new problem over her achilles’ heel I think we shall have to go the care home with nursing route sooner or later.
      I have searched not regarding charges, as we want to see the best and have a clear idea what we want, but as you say, there’s not a lot of choice.
      I have asked the hospital about a wheelchair which she could propel herself while she is immobile, but had no answer.

  2. I do hope that you are surprised by your visit. It would take so much strain and worry from you to know that you had found somewhere suitable.

  3. Isobel I so hope you will find somewhere you like and that they have space for your Mother. What’s the new problem with the heel?

  4. Yes, I hope so too. However, as they have realized she isn’t well off, the pressure to move her immediately has lessened. If we find somewhere that meets all the criteria and there isn’t a space, my understanding is that she will be nursed in hospital until there is. We don’t want to put her through more moves than necessary.
    She has a new sore above her Achilles tendon, under her plaster, also a grade 3.
    The good news is the hospital noticed blood coming from her plaster and acted, also she has regained half kilo.
    I don’t want her to move until she has regained all the weight lost on hospital and some more, as I expect there will be a few teething problems wherever she moves too and she may well lose some weight there at first.

    • and this has some excellent guidelines

      Click to access ONS_Guide.pdf

      I may have suggested before that calories can be ‘hidden’ by fortifying ordinary milk with skimmed milk powder, adding important nutrition for those with smaller appetites. IN most cases it will go unnoticed and is more tolerable than the fortified drinks available on prescription. Extra protein to help healing too.

      • It’s not so much that she won’t eat, as that she needs time, and encouragement. She quite likes her shots of calories.
        I tend to put lentils in all her mashed veg which ups the protein and gives her a nice lot oif iron.
        Trouble is, i’m now out of the cooking role.

  5. Yikes. Very worrisome that she has lost weight along with everything else. Do you have Ensure or some equivalent convalescent fluid? I think that helps put on weight if it’s used as a supplement. My very best wishes…

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