Choosing the right care - for you

“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 explain to you the different areas of care, what they will provide you, how they will benefit you based on your needs and requirements of the care provider. What to expect of your care and what to look out for to ensure the carer has received the correct training and has the knowledge to care for you in a safe and dignified manner. We encourage you to be the advocate for your own care, documenting your wishes and preferences early can benefit you greatly in the future if there is a decline in health and you become unable to make these decisions later in life you may find your care is not adapted to your needs uniquely as it should be. We recommend how to do this further down the page. 

What is the right care - For you?

It may have come to a time where you are now considering to have care staff come to your home or your thinking make your final move to a permanent residence, a home that provides care, is secure, has a lovely garden, has staff available 24/7 should there be any concerns. But is that all that you should consider? 

A care provider’s team which consists of, but not limited too: care staff, team leaders, nurses, admin, management etc, these roles are all trained differently based on the care providers, the companies and the local councils ‘requirements’ at the base of all this care that is provided are the care assistants. Care assistants training is largely done in house, passed down from another care assistant, this is diluted training and becomes flawed, where risks and accidents happen, leading to hospital admissions we then put further strain on the NHS. Nightingales Army aim to change this where by we provide all training before they enter the care environment. The care you receive will not depend on the quality of the home, its fixtures, furnishing and meal options, it will depend on the staff in the home. The training they have received and the quality of the management of that team.

Look at the suggestions we have provided here, to help you find the correct care for your needs. What may be suitable for one individual may not be suitable for the you. We advise you take into consideration all the variable needs you may have during your short or long stay within a care providers service.

Channeling - Tony Luciani. Photo subject to copyright.

Speak to your friends and family

Openly talking about the choice to go into care is extremely helpful for all those who are involved in the decision making process, it can help to have other views and opinions that you may have not considered yourself. Talking can be therapeutic and can be as beneficial as taking medicine.  

Look for local community groups and support networks who can give you guidance and information in your area. You will find you are not alone, you will have thoughts and concerns that will be reciprocated by others who have had the same experience. Set aside some time for yourself to reflect on your conversations and advice given.  

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

Inquire into a local clinical commissioning group

A combination of GP’s in an area who provide guidance and support about the best services for their patients and population.

Services CCGs commission include:

  • most planned hospital care
  • rehabilitative care
  • urgent and emergency care (including out-of-hours)
  • most community health services
  • mental health and learning disability services.

Click here to find your local services

Understand the different types of care homes and the type of care they can provide

When choosing a care home Nightingales Army recommend that you choose a home that specializes in your specific need. Currently a lot of homes but not all are mixed, for example: nursing & residential or dementia & residential. In future we feel if homes specialized or focused on a certain criteria, the correct prevention would be in place should we ever experience another pandemic. This would mean residents, that are able, could have a say in whether they see their loved ones or not, at their own risk. During Covid19 this option was taken away from them due to the needs mix of care homes, some residents could clearly state they would like to take the risk and still see their families but due to other residents not having mental capacity the choice was taken away for all.

When it comes to making decisions in the care home the providers only have a very finite amount of power to stop you from making and following through with your choices. Unless your action is a danger to others you are able to, smoke, drink, walk into town, catch the bus, live a daily life. You do not need to be confined to the home. To ensure your wishes are met and legally recognized in court. We encourage you to document your needs and wishes early. These can be transferred when moving from home or hospital. 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

-Due to COVID19 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.

Around England you can find many care homes left abandoned like this one. This happened due to poor management and lack of care.

  • 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 

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.

Request to book 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. Speak to all the staff. Stay for lunch. Ask lots of questions. 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 handoverstaff 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 expatiation’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.

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

Look at reviews of care homes and hospitals

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. 

Request to see companies policies and procedures

Care providers should have policies and procedures in place to support you, your loved one and the team supporting them – as set out by the care provider in line with agreed ways of working. 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.