Finding a Nursing Home for Simon
When the decision was taken by the care team at Putney that there was no point in continuing to assess Simon, the only option for us was which would be the best nursing home for him. I work full time running a business so caring for him at home simply wasn’t viable.
I was given a list by the Continuing care Team at our Primary Care Trust of three homes that could meet his needs and made appointments to go and visit them. I was given plenty of time to make my decision because this was going to be Simon’s home and it was important to select the best place for him. The criteria that I set were:
We had been travelling over 50 miles each way a day to go and visit Simon, first at Kings College Hospital in London and then at Putney. The cost had been enormous, both in fuel and in exceeding the mileage on our cars which were leased. Time was a real issue too because I had to travel after work and rarely got home before nine thirty or ten o’clock. Although it narrowed down the choice, I wanted Simon to be somewhere close to home so that we could see him every day and be nearby if any issues arose.
Quality and ratio of staff
Simon was completely dependent upon nursing care. Although he had been weaned off the tracheostomy, the stoma was still open and he required regular suction and occasional oxygen. He needed staff that could deal with his peg feed, administer his various medications and ensure that he was handled with care and affection.
Cleanliness and facilities
I wanted to see high levels of cleanliness and to ensure that the home was kept in good repair.
Only two of the homes that I visited met all these requirements. The third appeared to be in a terrible state and I was most concerned by the lack of security, as I was able to just wander in unannounced. The other two were close to our home and looked very nice. In the end my choice was influenced by the fact that the home had a special unit for younger adults with neuro-disabilities so Simon wouldn’t just be surrounded by elderly folk. There were two nurses and five care staff on duty at all times for sixteen patients. The home actually looked like a high quality hotel and the staff were attentive and courteous. The room was very pleasant and large, with ensuite bathroom and the grounds, although fairly small were well tended and attractive. There were plenty of wet rooms with shower trollies, chairs and baths. There was a nice lounge and dining area, with music, TV and sensory equipment so I could be confident that he wouldn’t just be left in his room all day.
Therapies and medical care
I was contacted by the Community Brain Injury Team based at the local hospital and arrangements were made for one of their physiotherapists to attend Simon once a week, with additional passive therapy and massage provided by the home. Speech and language and OT is also provided by CBIT. His wheelchair is maintained by a specialist department at the hospital.
Medical care is provided by a local GP and for serious problems the hospital is not far away. So far the care at the home has been good and any issues that have arisen have been dealt with promptly.
I can’t praise CBIT highly enough. They are very helpful and always willing to get involved with any problems that I can’t sort out. I can also call on the Continuing Care Team at the local PCT. That’s not to say that there haven’t been problems, usually due to the time and funding pressures associated with community care, but on the whole I feel we are quite well supported.