We spoke to 85 people in total on our visits; 28 residents (many of whom had Dementia), 17 visitors and 40 members of staff. We found that the residents, and their relatives or friends, who we spoke to were overwhelmingly happy with the care they were receiving at these eight care homes. People felt that staff knew them well and provided good care. In addition staff were very positive about their places of work giving examples such as having a ‘great staff team’ around them and being ‘very proud of the excellent training they had received’.
End of Life Care was very important in these settings to avoid people having to move home as their health deteriorated. Both residents and staff we spoke to felt confident that preferences and wishes had been discussed and recorded.
We used a basic Environmental Checklist adapted from ‘Is your care home dementia friendly?’ produced by The King’s Fund, to look at the environment within the eight homes. Homes scored highly in most areas but in half of the homes we visited we found issues with a lack of clear signs, particularly for toilets, and use of colour contrasts, for example light switches which are a different colour to the wall behind them making them easier to see. Both the use of contrasting colours for things like handrails and light switches and having clear signs in place are recommended as helpful for people with Dementia.
- Overall the residents and relatives we spoke to were happy with the care they were receiving at the homes we visited with positive comments received about staff, food and activities.
- End of Life Care is seen as an essential part of providing Dementia care.
- Some homes had Wi-Fi throughout for residents’ use as well as computers or tablets to help them keep in contact with relatives or friends, including those living abroad. Several homes mentioned that they had supported residents to make ‘Skype’ calls.
- Many homes have separate Dementia units and we found that purpose built care homes were more Dementia friendly in terms of the environment and décor. This was likely to be because the designs would have taken account of the needs of residents. One non-purpose built home scored very highly on our observation checklist.
- Activities on offer varied from home to home.
- All of the homes told us that residents had regular access to GPs however access to other health support services was less consistent, particularly access to a dentist.
- Residents were supported to make choices e.g. what to eat or wear, or how to personalise their bedrooms at all eight homes and their communication needs were taken in to account whenever they were being asked to make choices. We recommended improvements to menus in three homes in particular to do with adding pictures or using larger wording to help residents to choose their meals.