The recent COVID-19 pandemic and news regarding care homes has led to many families considering alternative care arrangements for their loved ones. Families are naturally concerned about the impact of COVID-19 in care homes and the recent rapid spread of the virus. Additionally, many families have been restricted from visiting their loved ones in residential care. Live in care is the obvious alternative providing 24 hour care.
Live in care is widely considered a suitable alternative to residential care, although many people may not be aware of it as an option. Additionally, care homes may have been perceived as safer and more community focused prior to Covid-19 with support from multiple carers and company from other residents.
What are the benefits of live in care versus a care home?
One dedicated carer can stay with the person on a semi permanent basis often for several months if required. This means that self isolation can, in effect, occur with that carer and the patient can be shielded from additional contact. It is also easier to manage cleanliness and hygiene within the property.
There is very little chance of cross infection from other individuals. Additionally carers can be quarantined before coming into the home for two weeks. It is Hometouch’s policy to test all carers prior to starting a new live in care contract. It can be easy to replace carers if required, with the same restrictions and safety measures in place. Additionally, there are no restrictions on family members visiting where appropriate.
What practical steps are required to prepare the home for live in care?
Firstly, a spare room and appropriate washing facilities should be made available for the live in carer. This may require some mild renovation to a spare room, such as provision of a single bed. Appropriate facilities such as a wash basin are advised. Secondly, the home needs to be made safe for an elderly person to reside, particularly if there is a risk of falls, poor balance, on dips in blood pressure. If there is a history of wandering, secure locks may be required. Any trip hazards should be removed in areas such as the bathrooms upstairs and downstairs areas should be fitted with handrails and other mobility aids were appropriate. When these matters have been addressed it may be appropriate to consider arranging transition from a care home.
What steps should be taken to arrange transition from a care home?
Firstly, alternative arrangement should be in place before giving notice of your decision which should be discussed properly with the care home manager and team to outline your concerns and to ensure there is a smooth transition. Secondly, it is likely there will be a notice period of at least two weeks possibly a month. It may be possible to negotiate this depending on the nature of the contract and the duration of stay. At the same time, it would be appropriate to discuss the care plan and matching of a carer with your chosen live in care provider so that these arrangements are in place by the time that the contract expires with the care home.