When a loved ones needs can't be met at home any longer, making the decision to move them into care can be stressful. There are lots of things to consider to make sure it's the right care home, from affordability to the activities provided.
When Tony needed to find a reliable care home in Durham for his mum, he didn't realise how complicated and time-consuming it would be. Searching online he noticed many of the care homes lacked basic information, which meant he couldn't make an informed decision. As his mum lived in a different area, Tony and his sister found it particularly difficult to organise care when they didn’t know what support was available.
Tony, who is also a volunteer, raised his concerns with Healthwatch County Durham. They worked together to review every local care home website to identify some of the barriers to finding a good care home quickly, as well as how things could be easier for the public.
Healthwatch shared the recommendations with the council and care homes in the area. Using these ideas, the council has now changed its criteria so that all care homes have to provide up-to-date information on durhamlocate.org.uk, which is a public database of local services. This means it's more straightforward for people to find the address, cost of care, what activities are provided, as well as when families can visit.
Tony and the other volunteers have continued to review the database to make sure it's easy to use. They were also invited to help a local care home provider set up a new website based on his ideas. In the future, they hope other care homes in the area will roll out new websites so that people can find clear information online. However, they recognise services need advice to understand what people really want.
Thanks to Tony it's now much easier to find the right care home in Durham.
*Stock imagery has been used to represent Tony in this article.
The more that people share their ideas, experiences and concerns about NHS and social care, the more services can understand when improvements are needed. But, to make the biggest difference, we need to hear from more people.
You can make a difference. Find out more about our #ItStartsWithYou campaign or share your experience with your local Healthwatch and help make services better for your community. It starts with you.