Picture this scenario: you looked carefully at all the available care options, you spent a considerable amount of time working out your budget, you talked to care home staff to decide what your main preferences were and then you moved into your lovely new care home.
There’s just one problem: you’re not happy.
Unfortunately, situations like this are all too common – in fact, just under half of Care Seekers in the UK regretted their decision. Choosing a care home for the first time is a huge decision and if you have no previous experience, it can be a bit of a minefield.
So, is changing care homes an option for you? Read on to find out…
Reasons to Change Care Homes
The hunt for a care home has never been easy – especially in the last 18 months, with 95% of Care Seekers saying that COVID-19 has impacted the process of searching for a care home.
Unfortunately, the amount of time and effort it takes to look for a care home often means that people don’t always make the right decision.
The below are some of the main reasons why someone might want or need to change care homes:
1. You are unhappy
You can spend all the time in the world making your decision, but it might not always be the right one.
There are so many factors that go into a good care home that even if feel that you really did your homework, it’s hard to predict whether it will suit you or not and you may change your mind once you’ve actually moved in.
Maybe you don’t like the feel of the place, the environment, you don’t get on with the staff, or you feel that your needs and preferences aren’t being catered for.
Being unhappy in your care home can really affect your quality of life and mental health, so it’s important to get to the root of the problem in order to find a solution.
2. Your care needs have changed
Over time, a person’s care needs might change and their care home may no longer be able to meet these needs, whether it’s not having the right facilities to treat a certain health condition, or not having adequately qualified staff to provide the level of care they require.
For example, if you have worsening dementia or a deteriorating health condition, it may be recommended that you move from residential care to a nursing home or even end of life care.
It’s worth noting that in some cases, your care home may be able to take steps to accommodate for your increased levels of care, so do check with staff before planning a move.
3. Your financial circumstances have changed
If your money runs out, you may no longer be able to afford your care home fees. If this happens, you can do a care needs assessment to see whether you are eligible for funding from your local authority, the NHS, or a top-up fee from a third party.
If you don’t have enough money for your current care home, you may have to move to a less expensive one.
4. Other special circumstances
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some care home residents chose to move back home, due to complications that arose from social distancing measuring and the subsequent difficulties arranging visits from their loved ones.
If you are paying your own fees and are mentally capable of making your own decisions, you can technically leave your care home whenever you like, depending on what’s in your contract.
However, if you are planning to move back to your home, or to live with a family member, the house must be suitably adapted for your care needs and you must have a suitable caregiver who can provide the daily care and support you require.
If the above sounds like you, or your family member, read on to find out more about making the move.
How to Change Care Homes
A massive 97% of UK Care Seekers would consider switching care homes, so if you’ve decided you want to change care homes, you’re not alone.
You will have to repeat the same process you used for your first care home – although at least you should now have more of an idea what you want and what you definitely don’t want.
Read Your Current Contract
If you are self-funding your care, the first thing you’ll want to do is have a proper read through your contract with your current care home. There may be terms and conditions for the cancellation process, including information on your notice period.
If your local authority is funding your care, the contract will be between social services and the care home. You will need to get in touch with your local council for more information on how they can help you with your move.
Finding a New Care Home
Once you’ve sorted your contract, it’s time to start looking for your new care home. Consider what it is that you don’t like about your current care home.
For example, do you want to be nearer to local amenities? Do you want a broader range of activities and entertainment? Do you want to be able to have a pet? Do you need somewhere that specialises in caring for people with dementia?
If you require help and support throughout the process, you can use our useful guide to choosing a care home.
Requesting a Needs Assessment
If your care needs have changed and your current home can no longer meet these needs, you should request a care needs assessment from your local social services.
Once you have completed the assessment, a healthcare professional or your local council will work with you and your family members to make suggestions and recommendations for the best course of action, which could be to move you into a nursing home.
Making a Complaint about your Current Care Home
If you want to change care homes because you have not received the level of care you were promised, if you feel the facilities aren’t up to standard, your care package or your fees were changed without your consent, making a complaint may be the best solution, rather than leaving the home.
Complaining about your care home can be a daunting decision to make, but speaking to the home’s manager and staff about your concerns may help to resolve the situation, without you having to move out of the home. For more information on how to complain about a care home, click here.
If you feel that you want to move care homes, we recommend that you take time to explore every possible avenue first.
Choosing a care home is difficult and making another transition can be incredibly stressful; for both you and for your loved one.
Speak to care home managers, family and friends for advice and to see whether changing rooms, routines or care services might solve your problem, without the need to move. Good luck!