Last week we posted a guest blog by Jude Irwin who cares for her Mum, living with dementia. They had struggled to find her good care. Luckily Jude had subsequently found a brilliant home care agency and she and her Mum are now much happier. Jude concluded her blog:
“Just wish we’d known about the agency, Diagonal Alternatives earlier, and I really wish Find Me Good Care had been around to help us get this sorted sooner.”
Several readers asked for more details about “Find Me Good Care.” As it is such a great idea, with so many people often at their wits’ end trying to organise consistent, compassionate care for their loved ones, I thought you would want to know more!
We invited Andrea Sutcliffe, who has already written one great blog in this series, to tell us. Thank you Andrea for responding so quickly …
Decisions, decisions, decisions…
As we, or our loved ones, get older the reality that we may have to think about needing a little bit of extra care and support (or maybe a lot more care and support) gradually dawns on us. Lots of us leave it to the last minute when a crisis intervenes and rapid decisions have to be made, and sadly research suggests that those decisions may not end up being the right ones. At SCIE, we firmly believe that people should have access to enough information to enable them to take control and make informed choices about the support they need to live their lives in the way they want. This is true for everyone but how much more important for someone living with dementia or their family?
To help anyone choose the right kind of care, we need to know what our options are and to be well armed with that knowledge. That is why we set up Find Me Good Care – to help people taking their first steps in navigating the care system, offering advice and guidance on care and support options, whether that is to do with paying for care, getting to know the different types of care available, finding out what to ask and look for, or being aware of your rights. We have included a searchable directory with the option of leaving feedback – you can search by location, type of care, lifestyle preferences e.g. hobbies, pets or holidays, faith, sexuality and so on.
There has been a lot of discussion recently about rating health and social care services – is it helpful, how should it be done, what should be included, who should do it? Lots of questions which the Secretary of State for Health has asked Dr Jennifer Dixon at the Nuffield Trust to explore. Jennifer asked me to join her advisory group and I have tried to ensure that the voice of social care and the needs of people using services, and their families, have been heard throughout the review. This work is continuing and hopefully we will see the final report around Easter.
We have been doing a lot of thinking about ratings at SCIE too. Anything that helps us in making these really important decisions is useful, but we know that creating a standard and robust rating system is really challenging. Nothing beats finding out what the service is really like by visiting or speaking to people who already use it. That is why we have included a feedback mechanism in Find Me Good Care. We all have individual preferences so it is important that this information is not taken in isolation – it is about having as much information as possible.
To choose your care and support, it might take a bit of time to do the research and find the right option, but I hope that Find Me Good Care will be a valued source of guidance and a helpful starting point. I know that I plan to use it if I need to help my Mum and Dad. Maybe I should take my own good advice and start that conversation now!
Find Me Good Care has been created by the Social Care Institute for Excellence – the UK charity focused on improving care and support services.