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How to prepare a house for home care

This brief guide will help you to identify the things you’ll need to think about to prepare a loved ones home for 24/7 home care. The steps you’ll need to take to get the home fully prepared will vary depending on the nature of the care required.

How to prepare a house for home care

If you’re organising home care for a loved one, you probably have lots of questions about how to prepare their home (or your home, if they live with you) for care. Many more people are turning to care at home as an alternative to residential care home living as it allows the care recipient to maintain a far greater degree of independence and remain in their own home.

The steps you’ll need to take to get the home fully prepared will vary depending on the nature of the care required, but this brief guide should help you to identify some of the things you’ll need to think about.

Basic preparation

  • Create a list of personal emergency contacts. This is a list of the people the carer can contact in the event of an emergency. Be aware that emergency calls can come at any time of the day or night and make sure you check with people before adding them to the list. Include their home phone number and mobile number. This list could consist of yourself and other family members, a close friend or neighbour of your loved one or another suitable adult. Ideally, you should have at least three people on your list, but feel free to add more if you have a wide circle of people willing and able to help in the event of an emergency.

  • List your loved one’s medical contacts. This list should include their GP, their dentist, their optician - if relevant - and any other health care professionals with whom they have dealings. Display this list, along with the emergency contacts list, in a prominent location, ideally near a phone or somewhere it’s unlikely to be moved.

  • List all the medication taken by the care recipient. Include dosage and frequency and make a note of any medications that should be taken together or with food.

  • Depending on the nature of the care recipient’s needs, you might like to make a plan of their daily routine to help the transition to home care go as smoothly as possible. Beginning to receive care for the first time can be a stressful or upsetting time for some people, so anything you can do to help your loved one feel comfortable and respected will be invaluable. If your loved one requires dementia care or similar, sticking to a routine might be especially important. If your loved one needs a less involved level of care, such as companion care, they will be able to discuss their requirements with their carer themselves.

  • Ask the agency if they require any special information to help them care for your loved one. Reputable agencies will have dealt with hundreds of new clients and will know exactly what information and preparation will make their jobs easier and help them to deliver the best possible levels of care. Don’t worry if you think your questions are too basic or are silly; the care staff will have come across just about every question from clients before!

Dulcie’s story

Dulcie is one of our longest serving customers. In this short video, she talks through the reasons behind her, and her family’s decision to choose full-time home care rather than the care home.

Welcoming the carer into the home

Your carer should ideally come to meet the care recipient ahead of beginning the job. This is an opportunity for you to meet to carer(s) who will be caring for your loved one and a chance to highlight any important points and ask questions.

It enables the carer to get to know the care recipient and to ask questions about anything they need to know before they start the job. Show the carer around the home and be prepared to answer questions about your loved one’s daily routine, habits and care requirements. Your carer should be experienced in elderly care and should be able to identify anything that you have left out of your instructions.

Go through your instructions and lists

Show the carer the emergency contacts and medical contacts list and talk them through the details on the lists. Go through the lists of medications your loved one takes and ensure that the carer understands your instructions. Discuss your loved one’s daily routine and highlight anything that is particularly important to them, whether it be taking a walk at certain times of day, preferring dinner at the same time each day or never missing a favourite TV show. Involve your loved one in the conversation if possible and encourage them to explain what’s important to them.

If you intend the carer to only access certain rooms in the home for any reason, such as communal areas but not bedrooms if it’s a shared home with other family members, make this clear. If you are organising full-time care, you should be prepared for the carer to take lunch breaks and rest breaks in a comfortable area of the home. Point out a suitable room if necessary.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If you are in any way unsure as to what you’ll need to do, your care agency should be able to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for advice. In addition, it’s worth speaking to friends and relatives who have previously hired a care agency. They’ll be able to tell you what to expect and to provide invaluable advice about how to prepare.

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