A home for Howard
I made the decision very early on that I didn’t feel that I would be able to have Howard at home. I felt that he would require such a high level of care it would not be fair on either him or myself and our young daughter.
In a bizarre way having gotten my head around this at a very early stage it made the inevitable process seem much easier.
So, eventually having spent nearly a year and a half at The Royal Hospital Putney, our Primary Care Team were making noises for Howard to move to the next stage. There wasn’t any pressure, I was just advised to start looking at Nursing Homes and I was given a list of a few homes around my area.
Me, being me, I wasn’t just going to settle for this list but went about looking on the internet for all the Homes around us.
So, what was my criteria?
Location was a huge issue. I wanted Howard to be close enough so that I could continue to visit him on a regular basis.
I didn’t want a Home that was predominantly old people (I am not being ageist but had to think of how Howard would feel around all the oldies and, of course, the environment our daughter would be being brought up in.
I needed a Home that would be able to cater for Howard’s needs. He suffers from extreme spasticity so it was very important that there was access to physiotherapists to assess his ongoing physical needs, splinting, botox etc.
I wanted somewhere that was lively and had lovely grounds where I could take Howard somewhere that had lots of things going on, even if Howard couldn’t participate in them, he could be part of them.
Staff turnover – I wanted a place that employed their staff and didn’t rely on agency staff. I felt that there would be much more continuity this way and Howard would feel in many ways more secure in his surroundings.
So, once this criterion was set in my mind, what did I do next?
Firstly, I visited the Homes on the list that I was given by the PCT. To be honest, it was the first time I had been to a Nursing Home and first impressions seemed so important.
Secondly, I trawled through the internet and made a short list of Homes to initially call and then visit if appropriate. I did find that may of the Homes in the area did not cater for a man in his early 40’s! So my list was quite limited.
Nursing Home number 1
Finally, I settled on a Home and went about getting the assessment. My only main concern with this Home was that they didn’t have shower trolley facilities but I was assured that this wouldn’t be a problem.
Having been told that they would accept Howard weeks and weeks went past without hearing from them despite my many calls. Eventually, I spoke to them and they told me they didn’t feel they could now cater for Howard’s needs.
It was a bomb shell and I was very upset. It felt like Howard’s life could be just dropped and it didn’t matter and he was just a number – I told the Manager as well!!
Nursing Home number 2
I went for another visit and again started the assessment process. I had learnt a lot from my previous experiences and wasn’t going to make the same mistakes.
Seeing the Home for a second time made me see it in a different light. So one bit of advice from me would be to visit several times and have a check list of what you are looking for. I was given one of these and attach for your use.
This Home ticked all the boxes.
Howard finally moved in August 2009 and yet again the change was huge, life was slower but that doesn’t mean you don’t ask for what you want.
We have been lucky as Howard’s Nursing Home has their own physiotherapy department and resident OT. The Activities Organiser is passionate about her job so is there are always things happening and Howard is involved in many of these.
They also have their own sensory room and lovely well maintained grounds.
I actively involve myself with the Home, after all although it’s not our home it the place Howard now lives.
I am so glad things turned out how they did and I think Howard would be proud.
I am always visiting Howard and therefore always up to date with his therapies, medication and general well being which I feel so important.