People suffering from dementia have specific needs that will vary from person to person. An individual going through the process of slowly losing their memory and capacity to carry out normal activities may be extremely frustrated at times, and for many families the experience of caring for someone in this position can be very difficult. Often, it’s the case that people with more advanced stages of dementia may have no choice but to move into a care home in order for their needs to be met on a daily basis.
There are, of course, several different types of care home for families to consider when looking for a suitable home for a loved one. Different levels of care may be offered, including personal care such as help with getting dressed, eating and washing. Nurses may also be on hand most or all of the time to offer medical help, and some homes specialise in caring for people specifically with dementia. In many cases, homes will look to recruit these staff or provide funding for their existing staff to gain qualifications in this field. Dementia training courses for professionals in the UK are widely available and ensure that all staff are training to the same level, which should reassure anyone looking for a suitable residential care home.
To ensure you find a home that is up to a suitable standard in your local area, you can check for reports and certifications in England from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which may also be attainable from the homes themselves, but bear in mind that not all homes are suitable for dementia patients.
As someone responsible for choosing the home that a dementia patient comes to live in, your primary concern should be their safety and wellbeing. You will need to determine, as best you can, what level of care the person is going to be receiving at a particular care home, and whether this is sufficient to meet their needs. Ideally, care needs to be focused on the individual rather than the illness they suffer from. You will need to ask specific questions and make sure you get detailed answers about the level of practical help someone living in each home might get.
It may be that your loved one has already been in care, but needs to move to a different home for any reason. This can be disruptive and confusing, especially for dementia sufferers, so it’s important to handle this carefully. Making sure the patient is as involved with the process as possible is key, including making their own choices about where they live once you have narrowed it down to some suitable options. Whether the person has been in care before or not, ultimately it does come down to respecting that person’s choices.