When you’ve reached the point where you think it’s the right time to have your loved ones move into a residential care, to be looked after 24/7, what factors do you consider in your care for the elderly? Almost certainly it’s a multitude of conflicting emotions, practical factors to be considered and perhaps a desire to look after them yourself rather than place them into care.
I believe one of the factors that you should be considering is the medical care your loved one can expect to receive. To be didactic for one moment, the (non-at-home) care industry is divided into residential care homes (or retirement homes) and nursing homes. In a nursing home, the level of medical care someone requires is high and nurses often staff the home to look after the individual, who may often be bed-ridden. In a care home, or retirement home, like ours, the resident will be mobile and active, retaining a good degree of independence in their life. However, there are care needs; perhaps a fall risk that can be better dealt with through the 24/7 care provided in a residential care home.
So how do you choose between the array of homes offering accommodation? Back to my earlier point – the level of medical care. People move to a residential care home to live in a home, not a hospital, so there’s clearly an imperative not to have an institutionalised environment. Most care homes indicate a ‘homely’ environment, with home cooked food. Hey presto, that’s us. However, where we differ significantly from other homes is that we have 2 nurses’ on staff. They have trained our staff (including juniors who’ve previously had no medical training in their life) to spot the signs of illness, such as sepsis. We’ve recently had 2 independent cases where our residents’ suffered from sepsis and the signs of this life-threatening illness – where speed to treatment is key (each 1 hours delay results in an 8% increase in mortality) – were spotted by our junior staff. Both residents’ were transferred to hospital and recovered well in short order; all because of our nurse-led care.
To enable this we have a number of items of medical equipment that are typically found in hospitals, such as a pulse oximeter, to determine oxygen saturation of the blood and we regularly use this equipment to monitor our residents’ health; all the while maintaining our ‘homely’ environment and definitely not a hospital one. Everything goes on in the back ground, unseen but there. Now, ask yourself one question – where do you want to place your loved one?