Find out what 65 people told us about living in Reading care homes

Posted 02/09/2018

The views of 65 people living in various care homes across Reading have been collected by the Healthwatch Reading team in our latest series of ‘Enter and View’ visits. Comments we collected show most people thought staff were kind and caring and treated them with dignity and respect. During the visits to the care homes, Healthwatch Reading staff observed clean, welcoming and person-centred environments with some residents being able to bring their own furniture or a favoured pet with them. There were some improvements suggested by people, such as better food, activities or English skills among staff – see the individual boxes below for more details. We are aiming to visit all care and nursing homes in Reading to give older, frail or unwell people a chance to have their say about their care. The short visit reports on each home – including the full response from each home’s management – are being published on our website, or you can request a paper copy by phoning us. ST LUKE’S CARE HOME, Emmer Green Residents interviewed: 24 Selection of comments: ‘I like living here very much – they are helpful & kind.’ ‘Staff are observant, they spotted that my cough was a sign of a chest infection.’ ‘The garden is well kept, lots of wildlife to see…’ Activities are ‘very good.’ Healthwatch Reading observations: A homely atmosphere, personalised residents’ accommodation and a dementia friendly environment. Residents’ main suggestion for improvement: Better food choices BEACHER HALL NURSING CENTRE, Bath Road Residents interviewed: 12 Selection of comments: ‘I am happy here – they just let you get on with it – and if you ring they come – you can’t say fairer than that.’ ‘You can choose what you prefer to eat.’ One person praised staff for meeting personal care needs by giving them a bed bath, which they found ‘more comfortable’ than using the bathroom. ‘Happy’ here, ‘loves’ the gym [on site, staffed by physios].’ Healthwatch Reading observations: The home was welcoming, there was a pet guinea pig in the reception area, and activities coordinators seemed to know residents well. Residents’ main suggestion for improvement: Would like all staff to speak good English to help general conversation and communication about care needs. Report: Beacher Hall E&V.pdf THE BOLTONS CARE HOME, College Road Residents interviewed: 10 Selection of comments: ‘Food very nice, choose on the day and very versatile.’ ‘Go to the charity shops – staff attend with me.’ ‘Carers do a really good job. Never left alone – they keep an eye out for me.’ ‘Visitors can come anytime. Sometimes go out. Nice garden, can go out own.’ Healthwatch Reading observations: There are many items to stimulate the residents such as arts and crafts and playing cards, and in the corridors there were big signs and visual direction for residents if they got confused about where the lounge was. Residents’ main suggestion for improvement: No main theme, one person wanted to see a list of medication they were taking. Report: BoltonsE&V MOORLANDS CARE HOME, Oxford Road Residents interviewed: 8 Selection of comments: ‘Food is very good.’ ‘Staff here brilliant – top notch – very good. It’s their attitude – they are kind and polite – nothing dogmatic.’ ‘More activities – people are different, people like different things. Bingo is not my activity….I have had a physically and mentally active life. I get bored and fed up.’ ‘More exercise, more going out, even if it’s around the garden.’ Healthwatch Reading observations: The daily menu, staff on duty that day, and activities, were written up on a board and we heard background music playing that much older residents would be able to recognise from their younger days. Residents’ main suggestion for improvement: More varied activities for residents, and short trips out. Report: Moorlands E&V.pdf PEMBROKE LODGE CARE HOME, Alexandra Road Residents interviewed: 11 Selection of comments: ‘Staff are absolutely marvellous.’ ‘Help when needed, treated with dignity, good response to call bell.’ ‘Food very good and tasty.’ ‘Being a part of a family.’ Healthwatch Reading observations: Residents can bring their own furniture and one had even brought their pet bird, to make their room homelier, and there is a large and attractive garden. Residents’ main suggestion for improvement: No main theme, one person asked for more activities in the winter. Report: Pembroke Lodge E&V.pdf 5 STEPS TO HELP YOU CHOOSE A CARE HOME Healthwatch England has produced a guide for the public. Here is a summary of their 5 steps: 1. CONSIDER ALL YOUR OPTIONS Think about the least disruptive and costly options first, such as support to live independently at home or sheltered accommodation. 2. UNDERSTAND THE TYPES OF HOMES AVAILABLE The type of care home you need will depend on the level of care you  require. Some are purely residential, some offer nursing support or help  with specific disabilities. 3. BE CLEAR HOW YOUR CARE WILL BE FUNDED Speak to your local authority to see if they can help with the costs of your care. The Money Advice Service can give the public free and impartial advice about funding for care costs, via a website and telephone service. 4. FINDING A SUITABLE HOME Do your research before visiting a home. Consider the location, the costs and the services that the home provides. You can read the latest official inspection report of the care home, from the Care Quality Commission, as well as using visit reports from Healthwatch Reading to give you an idea of the feel of the home. 5. MAKING YOUR CHOICE Make a checklist of things to look out for and questions to ask staff to help you decide. There are free checklists available from Age UK and Independent Age.

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