Why it is time to challenge misconceptions about care homes: James Rycroft

As one of the UK’s leading dementia care providers, one of the things we’re most passionate about at Vida Healthcare is challenging and changing perceptions of care homes, along with the social care sector as a whole.

A recent study we conducted has made it clear that impressions of the care sector in the UK need to shift dramatically - our study found that a fifth of people surveyed said their perceptions of care homes were negative.

It’s crucial that we challenge these misconceptions and negative perceptions, in order to reassure people looking to move their loved one into a care home that they can do so with confidence.

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We often find that, by the time someone starts considering a care home for their relative, it’s likely they may be in need of more care than what can be provided at home, and people may have come to a breaking point where they can no-longer provide the care and support their loved one needs.

James Rycroft shares his expert insight. Picture: Giles RochollJames Rycroft shares his expert insight. Picture: Giles Rocholl
James Rycroft shares his expert insight. Picture: Giles Rocholl

More than half of UK adults we surveyed (57 per cent) admitted waiting until a health crisis before reaching out for help with the care of their loved one, but enlisting in the support of a care home and planning the move as early as possible creates a much smoother and easier transition, which will benefit both you and your loved one.

It’s important to accept that you are human and there’s only so much you can do - an individual cannot provide the level of care that a dedicated care home can. I want to encourage readers caring for a loved one and finding it increasingly stressful to engage with care providers sooner.

This will ensure that their relative is cared for in a respectful and dignified manner that allows independence to be maintained, while helping to improve their wellbeing and quality of life.

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Having the conversation around care and a move into a care home can be challenging - our study found that more than three quarters of people surveyed have said that having the conversation about moving a loved one into a care home was very difficult.

We found that many people put off conversations because of feelings of guilt - a stigma that we’re dedicated to challenging and changing.

We find that, once people engage with care homes for help and support in relation to the care of their loved one, we witness a profound shift in people’s feelings on care homes and the wider social care sector.

Of those surveyed, individuals who have had loved ones in a care home had much more positive opinions on the facilities. These include having supportive staff, their loved ones receiving better care, being surprised at how nice the home was and fantastic specialist care available.

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Moving a loved one into care can take strain away from relationships - caring for a relative can be physically and mentally exhausting and it takes a toll on everyone involved. Finding a suitable care home can take the pressure away and enable you to make your time spent together positive and happy.

Engaging the help and support of a care home will also ensure that your loved one is cared for in a safe environment by carers who have been specially trained to provide high quality, compassionate care.

Family members of people living with dementia and other conditions that mean they need to move into a care home shouldn’t feel like they have failed their loved one by not keeping them at home with them. On the contrary, being supported by a care provider can ensure that yourself and your loved one are supported in a respectful and dignified way.

James Rycroft is Managing Director at Vida Healthcare

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