Care for a friend or relative

“We at Nightingales Army strive to provide free knowledge and awareness to you so that you can be confident that the care being provided to either yourself, a friend, neighbor or a loved one is correct, safe, lawful and holistic.”
In this section we will help you understand if you are already a carer and how to get the correct support for yourself as well the individual you are caring for. Caring for a friend or relative can be extremely difficult especially if you don’t feel confident in what you are doing, it could result in an accident and either yourself, the individual or both of you getting seriously injured. You can gain the training and knowledge to help in a safe and dignified manner. You can get support to help you relief the amount of hours you are working. Once you are doing equivlent to 35 hours a week caring it is considered a full time job, you may find this effects your current job, if you have one and any benefits you or the individual you are caring for, are receiving.

Caring for a friend or relative - support for you

If you are supporting an individual to live independently by taking on small tasks such as: food shopping, cleaning, daily visits, laundry, food prep. You are classed as a carer. Lots of people who care for another, such as a husband or wife, or even a neighbor as a favor or a small gesture, do not realize they fall into the category of carer. 

There are thousands of unpaid carers in the UK which is actually saving the UK state £530 Million a year figures have found during the recent Covid Pandemic. But unfortunately being an unclassified carer can have difficulty’s, financially and physically. You must be caring for the individual for 35 hours a week or more and the individual you are caring for must be in receipt of a criteria of benefits for you to be entitled to the carers allowance. Caring for a relative or friend can be stressful, lonely and you may find your relationship could change as you become more integrated in their life. 

Naturally those who can care are drawn to it and wish to help all those we can, it is an honest and genuinely kind hearted act of selflessness. There will become a time where it may be too difficult to manage at home any longer, here you can find the information to help you and the individual(s) in your care to receive the best care and support for them and yourself, if you are just starting to care for someone or are looking to make the final move to a permanent home to rest, Nightingales Army will be here to give you the guidance and advice you need.

When a Child Has a Child - Tony Luciani

Parents are programmed to care for their children, no child is prepared to care for their parent.

Acting as a carer - Help for you

It is not well know there is help for you if you are acting as a carer for a relative or friend. You can be supported through your local council. If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer’s assessment. Carer’s assessments can determine what support you may need and recommend the best way to achieve this. You can find your local services Here.

Caring is extremely difficult even for those who choose to do it as a career, it can be even harder for those living at home and caring for a loved one, you can feel isolated and scared, feeling unsure of who to ask for help and possibly to proud or embarrassed to ask. But by not asking for help you can be over worked, become withdrawn, tired and a danger to yourself as well as the individual you are caring for. There is a lot to consider when caring for a relative or friend. Their medication, mobility, personal care, documenting their needs and wishes, being a power of attorney. Helping with finances and property. Without knowing the correct policies and procedures, manual handling maneuvers and acts, such as: Care Act, GPRD and mental capacity act, to follow you can put both yourself and the individual in your care at risk.

How do you know your home is risk free?

Would you be confident popping out to the shop assuming your relative is safe? Even these small considerations you have to make as a full time carer can dramatically change your life. Falls can be fatal. You can speak to your local council or search online here, for a home assessment to determine if you are eligible for home adaptations that may help you both through this time.

“Those over 65 years of age are most at risk, suffering both the highest mortality rate and the most severe injuries. In 2009 in England and Wales alone, people aged 65 or over accounted for 7,475 deaths as a result of an accident of which 49% were due to a fall.  More dated figures relating to A&E attendances after home accidents show that falls are by far the single largest cause of attendance. In 2002, 2.7million people attended an A&E department in the UK following a home accident, of whom 1.2million had suffered a fall. Over-65s accounted for 19 per cent of the total number of A&E home accident attendances, but 30 per cent of the attendances were due to accidental falls at home.”

How does caring for your spouse effect your marriage?

“Countless members of the Caregiver Forum have asked questions and participated in discussions about balancing marriage, stress, caring for aging parents and caring for themselves. Money, time, energy and patience are typically in short supply for these hardworking folks. After providing quality care for their loved ones, there is often little left over to “give” to other important people in their lives. In fact, family caregivers are stretched so thin that self-care is frequently put on the back burner.

Keeping Your Marriage Strong Through Caregiving – Article here

Relationship Advice for Those Caregiving for Their Spouse – Article here

What is the best option for you?

Everyone’s scenario will be different, don’t assume because you’ve seen it done on TV or during a visit to your retaliative at a hospital that you can ‘just care’ Caring is much more in depth than making a sandwich or running a bath. The long term psychological and physical effect it can have on you can leave you needing care yourself. By taking a carers assessment you can determine what level of support you may need.  Nightingales Army advise everyone to try and remain at home as long as possible, this does not mean you need to be the only support line available for them, we advise the use of home carers, local council and social services and days rest bite at care homes and centers.

Speak openly about the different options available

Share your interest and concerns, moving house can be difficult at any stage of an individuals life, especially now with all the extra considerations required. Talking can release endorphins. Supporting mental well-being and helping guide them through this time. It can also help you, a friend or relative to understand more about the environment they are locating to their are a variety of care settings available each meeting a different need of care required.

We recommend: The My Future Care Handbook. An interactive workbook designed to guide you gently through the complexities of planning for later life, with all the information you need to make, record and share decisions around your future care, end of life and beyond. Find out more Here 

  • Assisted living offers support in a safe secure self contained flat that you choose to either rent or buy depending on what scheme you need and choose. Each living accommodation will have a team of staff available 24 hours a day for example: wardens and care assistants, this facility is aimed at older people from 55 and above, who need assistance with daily tasks such as washing, dressing, going to the toilet or taking medication as well as preparing meals, shopping and cleaning. This facility can also provide a community room or lounge to give you the option to socialize. With a secure front door you have the freedom to leave and return at your will continuing your independence.   

Day care centers are an alternative to hospital or other residential care for older people and people with disabilities. Their general purpose is to help older people, people with disabilities, and their carers, to live in their communities and to promote independent living. Day care centers can provide the opportunity to meet with others socially, they may provided transport to other venues for leisure activities and sometimes health checks or chiropody. Day care facilities provide varied, stimulating activities, companionship and care, within a safe environment. The services are suitable for older people with varying levels of care needs, including those who have dementia.

Community Care is intended to help people who need a range of care and support to live with dignity and independence in the community and to avoid social isolation. The services are aimed at young adults leading up to the elderly,  those who live with mental illness, learning and physical disability. The main aim in providing community care services is to enable people to remain living in their own homes and to retain as much independence as possible, avoiding social isolation. Local authority social services provide community care services or arrange for them to be provided. Care needs can be difficult to gauge and provision based on individual requirements. To ensure needs can be met a care assessment will be discussed that will give the service provider a full understanding of your needs and choices. Nightingales Army encourages community care for as long as possible.

Residential care homes are for individuals who do not require the presence of a nurse constantly and are still able to make safe educated decision based on their ability, for example: provide their own personal care, self administer medication, walk independently to the shop and back. They are a step between living independently and a nursing home. They provide the reassurance that at all times within the building you have the safety net of the care staff on duty to support you if you have any change in needs, requirements or have an accident resulting in hospital admission. They provide services such as housekeeping, laundry, medication management and social activities. They are also great if someone is suffering with loneliness at home and would  thrive from interaction with others. Staff should consist of a senior health care assistant and a team of healthcare assistants.
Nursing homes are usually required for a long-term place of residence, by individuals who have needs that require the presence of a nurse 24/7. Residents are mostly elderly and their care needs can be complex and may require, medication administration, meal assisting, personal care, the use of equipment for example: hoistbed pan or wheelchair requiring accessible rooms and areas. Within a care home the team should consist of: A nurse, senior health care assistant(s) or team leader(s), a large team of healthcare assistants to support not only the residents but also the nurse on duty. As well as: house keeping, laundry, kitchen staff, gardeners, reception clerk, manager and deputy(s). Assisting a loved one into a nursing home facility can be a extremely difficult, not just for the individual but also for family and friends. Looking at the future, end of life care and support is available and we promote openly discussing it between family and friends. 

Dementia care is for those with a diagnosis of dementia who are no longer able to live independently at home with support from a relative, friend or paid carer. Dementia care homes vary in their staff, which can be consisted of a team of care assistants, team leader(s) or senior(s) generally dementia care homes do not have a nurse on duty and require visits from district nurses to provide dressing changes and other nursing requirements. Dementia care homes have specific training to support your needs and daily activities, staff should have completed Dementia friends training. Dementia care homes will provide social activities to encourage mental well-being and social stimulation.  

Learning disability services range from: residential care homes through to supported living, short breaks, respite and day services. The outcome is to have individuals living as independently as possible, providing support with their development, their social and communication skills and any other issues that may arise as a result of their learning disability 

-Due to COVID19 visits to the homes may be postponed or digital, we advise you to contact the care provider of your choice via telephone or email and take guidance from them personally as all care providers differ in their restrictions at this current time.

Attend introduction visits and viewings

We advise random and pre-booked visits to a minimum of 3 care settings at various times, we advise this to be between 8am to 11am & 1pm to 3pm & 5pm to 8pm. We advise these times because they will give you the best and most realistic view on the setting, how the staff manage their job role and work load. You can ask questions too. You can write down pros and cons. Collect some brochures and a menu. Stay for lunch, speak to the staff on duty. Be aware of the surroundings, noise, light, accessible space to move in a wheelchair, if needed? Do the bedrooms have en-suits with showers, or do all residents share a universal bathroom? These may be things your friend or relative might over look. In the future these small adjustments will make the overall difference to the care provided and received. Here are some suggested questions to ask, these can be used along side the ‘What can you see – questionnaire’

  • When are mealtimes? – You may find mealtimes vary in homes to what you would be used to previously.
  • Can I bring my own food and drink as alternatives? – Some homes have rules as to what can be brought into the environment.
  • What activities are available? – Ensure you have access to the right activities to ensure your mental and physical well-being is met.
  • What services are available? -Hair, Chiropodist, Physio? – Having these planned visits are vital to your mental and physical well-being to promote good hygiene, mobility, time keeping and orientation.
  • When is the shift change over? – At handover’ staff will meet in the offices for a detailed outline of the days events, it is best to be aware of this as it will mean staff may not be able to attend to you for a very short period of time. It is important to remember the staff require this handover to be fully informed of their duties to cover that day. Without this it may put the staff member at risk and in turn put the resident at risk. Please allow them to complete this to reduce any accidents occurring.
  • If receiving a community carer: Ask to see their qualifications – They should, as a minimum have completed a Care certificate
  • Use a certified agency – all care companies will be CQC registered and rated. Ensure staff are completing duties within their job description to avoid any harm to either yourself of the care provider
  • Ask for proof of ID –  From carers or professional bodies who may be entering your establishment alone or with a colleague. 
  • Be aware of expectation’s  – Due to the high demand and turnover of health care assistants within the sector some needs may not be met in the time frame honored from your care provider or care setting during your introduction in to your new home.

Take us with you on your walk through and view. What can you see?

Nightingales Army has created this questionnaire for you to take with you on your walk through. This is to help you see past the fittings and fixtures and focus your attention on what actually supports delivering a high standard of care.  

Use it on your mobile phone, computer, print it out, share with a friend who is considering moving into care. It is a digital form with multiple answers and explanations. Use it again and again until you find the perfect home for you or your loved one.

No care provider should deny you the use of this tool or withhold any answers from you. They should remain transparent at all times. If they do not demonstrate this we strongly suggest you do not move forward with your inquiry and walk through and view.

Click on the photo above to access the questionnaire.

Know about the CQC speaking up and whistle-blowing procedure

The scream within - Tony Luciani. Photo subject to copyright

We promote use of the speaking up procedure and encourage any-one to use it. It was recommended by Sir Robert Francis in his Freedom to Speak Up review, this policy contributes to the need to develop a more open and supportive culture that encourages staff to raise any issues of patient care quality or safety. As a relative or friend you may notice changes in the individual receiving care, they may be withdrawn, look malnourished, dehydrated, they may have bruises, bed sores, marks and lumps on their body, they may complain of a new pain in an unusual area. If you notice any changes report it immediately and ensure it is documented in the individuals care plan, this creates a paper trail of events that can be reviewed if the concern is raised again. If you feel your concerns are not being met within the care home, you have taken reasonable action to speak to staff, management and other professionals, such as: Doctor’s, speech and language therapist and physiotherapist. It is time to raise your concerns further through external channels.

Have an unanswered question? Contact us today and we will help you to find an answer.

Look at reviews of care homes and hospitals on the CQC website

Click here to visit the CQC map of service ratings across England

Be mindful a CQC rating will only cover the areas CQC deem reasonable for inspection. They will find out whether or not it is, safe, responsive to people’s needs and effective, well-led. caring.

Also look at staff reviews on job sites such as Indeed. This will give you an insight into the home, how its being managed, how the staff are being treated from a clinical and independent view of the team that will deliver your care. This consists of: health care assistants, nurses, companionship team and housekeeping team. 

Be aware of the correct policies and procedures

Care providers have an obligation to keep policies and procedures in place to support you, your loved one and the team supporting them – as set out by the Government. Risk assessments are put in place to support an individual receiving care, these cover possible risks that may result in a accident, for example: use of equipment, use of a wheelchair and wearing a lap belt during transportation, medication administration, infection control, photo consent, environmental safety factors. There will be a set of policies and procedures within the building. Usually these are not permitted to leave the building as they are large documents and often have the companies name on, however you are entitled to read these, although we understand this is a lot to take on, we advise you familiarize yourself with them.