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FAMILIES EXPERIENCE OF OUR SERVICE

We have worked with more than 45,000 families living throughout the UK and abroad to find suitable care homes for elderly people.

We value their views of our service highly and this section provides a valuable insight into the experience of choosing and managing care for a loved one.

- Kath and Sue

"Words cannot express how much you helped me manage sorting out a nursing home. I felt so supported when trying..."

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Kath and Sue

Sue Brown describes her experience of the support Carehome Selection provided when her aunt, Kath Noble, needed to move from hospital into a care home.

“Words cannot express how much you helped me manage sorting out a nursing home. The other two ladies, to whom I spoke at the beginning and yourself were always so clear. I understood about your company and felt so supported when trying to also deal with, what felt like, the bureaucracy of the hospital.

“Shirley, you always gave me time and helped. I really believe God led me to your website as I hadn’t a clue where to begin and once again would say that you made a real difference during a tough time.”

- Janet and Marion

"I hope more people find out about the Carehome Selection service because it was a light at the end of..."

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Janet and Marion

Janet Baker describes her experience of finding a care home for her mother Marion Evans, who had suffered a stroke. Mrs Baker is a teacher who lives in Rugeley in the West Midlands.

“Mum has always been in really good health and when she suddenly had a stroke, it was panic stations for the whole family. The right side of her body was affected and at first she lost all speech and movement on that side. Mum spent 13 weeks in hospital then was moved to a specialist rehabilitation centre. After about eight weeks in rehabilitation, we were told mum had reached a plateau and were asked to find her a place in a care home.

“We were given no support – we were simply handed a thick book listing all the care homes in Birmingham. It listed every single home, including homes for children and people with special needs, so it was hard to tell which home would be right for Mum.

“I drew up a list of about 12 homes and checked their inspection reports on the internet. But every single home I called asked whether Mum was weight bearing. I didn’t understand exactly what they meant, but when I explained that mum needed a wheelchair and hoist, they all said they couldn’t take her.

“I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. Mum is a self-funder and we found that once we told social workers that she would be paying for her own care, they seemed to lose interest and offered no help. We felt under pressure to move mum from the rehabilitation centre but did not know where she could go. I was in contact with a friend whose mother had also had a stroke and she told me about Carehome Selection.

“By the time I called them, I was in despair. Tony at Carehome Selection picked up the phone, listened to all the problems I was having and said – ‘Don’t worry, we will sort it out for you’. For the first time, someone was prepared to listen and willing to support us through the whole process.

“I was then allocated an adviser, Julie. When we met, Julie asked about mum’s assessment of care needs. I didn’t know anything about this kind of assessment, but Julie explained everyone going into a care home needs to have one as a starting point. I also hadn’t realised that mum needed a nursing home and we had been looking at residential homes.

“Before I came into contact with Carehome Selection, no-one had explained what we needed and the things we had to consider in our choice. Mum had very specific needs – because she was not weight bearing, she needed to move to a nursing rather than residential home. But Mum had very good overall cognitive function and so we needed to find a home which combined both residential and nursing care, so she could be in an interesting and stimulating environment.

“Julie was a real lifesaver – she was always very calm, knowledgeable and went out of her way to help. When Mum needed to release some of her money to pay for care and this required a signature to be witnessed, we asked the staff in the rehabilitation centre but the response was no – ‘it’s more than my job’s worth’. We found a solicitor who was willing to be a witness but needed identity proof in order to do so. Julie came to the home at 7pm to collect the paperwork and took it to the solicitor the next day. It was above and beyond the call of duty and exactly what we needed.

“As I work as a supply teacher, it was really important that Julie was able to pick things up, make phone calls and be in contact with me outside school hours.

“Mum moved into Richmond Hall Care Home six months ago. We are very happy with the choice – it offers the nursing care and physiotherapy she needs but is more than a nursing home.

“I found the process of trying to find a care home confusing and very stressful indeed. I hope more people find out about Carehome Selection because it was a light at the end of the tunnel to finally find someone who was able to explain everything, sort things out and provide much needed support.”

- Harry and Irene

"The hardest thing was explaining it to Harry and finding somewhere which would be right for him. Our adviser Etain..."

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Harry and Irene

Harry is “150 per cent better” in the “perfect care home” thanks to support from Carehome Selection

Irene Dawes felt overwhelmed as she faced the emotional decision of finding a home for her husband Harry. Harry, aged 77, has a neurological condition which causes the degeneration of the nerves in his body.

Irene was no longer able to look after her husband at home and needed to find a suitable care home. The great-grandfather from Birmingham was in hospital and had lost the use of his legs and hands.

“It was a very emotional time,” said Irene. “The hardest thing was explaining it to Harry and finding somewhere which would be right for him.”

Social workers at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital contacted Etain O’Shea, Carehome Selection adviser who has worked for the service for 11 years.

Etain, guided by the social workers’ assessment of his needs and taking Harry and Irene’s wishes into consideration, recommended three suitable care homes.

“Etain was really wonderful,” said Irene. “She explained everything so well and understood what Harry needed.

“The first home Etain showed us was Havencroft in Hopwood, Birmingham. We knew it would be perfect for Harry. He has settled in very happily.”

Harry’s room looks over peaceful woodland and he enjoys regular trips out and being supported by friendly, welcoming staff.

He said: “Being in hospital was like being in another world. I feel 150 per cent better now.”

Etain is one of Carehome Selection’s longest serving advisers. “My role is to provide emotional support for the family and problem solve – ensure we find the right home for them.

“There are a lot of emotions flying around. We can take the pressure off the family and although it can be a difficult time, the end result is a happy one.

“I love my job. It is nice knowing every morning when you get up that you want to go to work and your work really makes a difference in people’s lives.”

- Arthur and Jean

"Our adviser Glenis knew all about the different homes in our area. It was really valuable having Glenis with us..."

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Arthur and Jean

Arthur Moulton’s wife Jean was in hospital following a massive stroke. The 75-year-old from Leicester was told that sadly, Jean would not be well enough to return to their home.

“The hospital and social workers suggested I should speak to Carehome Selection,” said Arthur.

“I knew straight away that we were in good hands. The Carehome Selection adviser Glenis Maskery knew all about the different homes in our area and what sort of services they offered.

“My worry was that we might not be able to find a home close to where I live. But Glenis told me there was a home just five minutes away.

“Glenis spent a lot of time talking to me and finding out about the type of home which would suit Jean.”

Mr Moulton chose Berrystead Nursing Home in Leicester.

“I liked Berrystead immediately and it was really valuable having Glenis with me to ask questions and double check that everything was right.

“Since Jean moved in last June, we have never looked back. While she was in hospital, my wife was unable to eat solid food.

“The staff at Berrystead were really caring and enthusiastic about helping her to eat normal food and feed herself. They were so pleased about the progress she made and that made a big difference. Also, my wife is a strong person who has the will to get better.

“She is now eating normal food really well and is really comfortable. I visit my wife every day and when I go home, I know she is in good hands.”

Glenis is a former mental health nurse who has worked for Carehome Selection since 2001.

“When we first make contact with people, they are often traumatised,” explains Glenis. “They are distressed about their relative going into a home and perhaps worried about the financial side too.

“We take the time to understand their needs and the sort of home which would suit their relative. With the right support and information, they will then be able to make the right choice for their relative.”

- Sally and Kit

"My adviser Marion Tunbridge was an absolute angel ' I don't know what I would have done without her. We..."

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Sally and Kit

Sally Olof was overwhelmed by the traumatic experience of finding a care home for her aunt Kit Francis. While Kit was in hospital following a fall, Sally was told her 95-year-old aunt would not be able to manage in her own home again.

Sally was given just one week to find a care home for her aunt, a former highly skilled dressmaker.

“Kit is a Londoner and was in hospital 60 miles from where I live. The whole experience was extremely traumatic as we were given so little time to find a care home.

“I didn’t know where to start in terms of finding a care home, but I wanted to bring Kit close to where I live so I could support her.

“My Carehome Selection adviser Marion Tunbridge was an absolute angel – I don’t know what I would have done without her.

“Marion could see how upset I was. We had little time, but I didn’t want to rush Kit into a home where she would be unhappy.

“Marion just picked things up and took all the pressure and the trauma away. She organised four visits and when I saw Cleeve Lodge I felt it was right instantly. I brought my husband and daughter to see it the next day and they thought it was wonderful too.

“Kit looks ten years younger since she has been in Cleeve Lodge. They do her hair and manicure her nails and she is more alert than she was living on her own at home.

“It was a very traumatic time but we know now that it was the right decision to move Kit to Cleeve Lodge as she wasn’t coping at home on her own.”

- Clive Field

"The support I received from my adviser was very practical – I knew that I could get good advice from..."

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Clive Field

Clive Field explains why support from CHS Healthcare was essential for his self-funding father who moved to a nursing home out of the area where he was living.

“Dad is 98 and up until last December, he was still living independently at home in Wiltshire. Then he had a couple of bad falls the latter of which led to his hospitalisation for acute care. This knocked his confidence and his ability to make decisions declined dramatically. He returned home but almost immediately was found wandering in the streets, which was the final straw. It was clear that he couldn’t manage on his own any more. Dad ended up in Bath Hospital for two weeks for medical assessment and I needed to move him directly into a nursing home from hospital as quickly as possible.

I’m used to being able to sort things out in life, but this was something I felt wholly unprepared for. I didn’t know anything about the funding system, I wasn’t sure what level of care my father needed or how to go about selecting a care home. Of course, there is a lot of information online, indeed too much to aid a quick decision. Most importantly I needed to pick a home that would be right for my dad but it is difficult to know what individual care home practices, procedures and standards are really like from looking at websites. I started to collect heaps of information but was feeling very overwhelmed by it all.

My father is self-funding and there was the added complication that we needed to find a care home out of the area where he lived and was receiving NHS services. We wanted to find somewhere that would make it as easy as possible for family members to visit Dad. That meant we were looking for him to move from Trowbridge in Wiltshire, where he lived and find somewhere close to Oxford, which would be equidistant to our homes.

When I talked about finding a place in Oxfordshire, I was met by blank looks – people didn’t seem to know how to help. Being self-funding, we fell into a gap in terms of advice and support. It was particularly difficult because at the time, my wife was attending outpatient appointments at a stroke unit and I needed to be with her as well as helping my father. Then a hospital social worker put me in touch with CHS Healthcare, a company that had just been commissioned to provide a new service.

It was a huge relief when I was told – yes, we can definitely help. I had identified one care home and they quickly came up with three others. My CHS Healthcare adviser found and checked through the Care Quality Commission reports for the homes and from those reports, suggested questions I may wish to raise. Two of the homes were well presented but didn’t provide care to match my father’s needs. My CHS adviser explained that as my father has Alzheimer’s, it is important to consider how his care needs may change over time. She explained about end of life care, which I was aware of but had not understood how it varies in terms of what different homes provide. I needed to provide long-term stability for my father who cannot cope with any changes to his routines; without the advice of my CHS adviser I might easily have chosen a home that may have left him needing a subsequent move.

The support I received from my adviser was very practical – I knew that I could get good advice from her quickly, whenever I needed it. I knew she would call me back every time and that she was working away behind the scenes, sourcing information, answering my questions. With her help, I was able to choose a nursing home for Dad and arrange transfer within a week. Doing it on my own, I would have got there eventually, but it would have taken at least one more week and quite possibly much longer.

Hospital transport had been arranged to take Dad to the nursing home, but an hour before he was due to leave, I got a call from the hospital to say there was not sufficient funding to move patients out of area. As I live in Cambridgeshire, it was impossible for me to reach Bath quickly and take Dad myself. So I called a CHS adviser and within an hour, she had identified some funding and made all the arrangements to transport Dad to his new home.

He has settled in quickly and very happily. The hospital had been too busy an environment for him. He became withdrawn and unresponsive, bewildered by what was going on around him; it was extremely important that he didn’t spend any more time there than necessary.

Considering my father’s age, finding care was something that I knew I would have to do. What I was not prepared for was how quickly the situation became a crisis and how little I knew about how to move forward selecting and funding suitable care for my dad.
I do also feel there is a gap in terms of the support and advice out there for self-funders. I am extremely grateful that Dad lived in an area where this service was available and for the wonderful and much-needed support that I received.”

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