A dignity champion from the South East region has created an exclusive guide that only lists care homes that have been awarded the highest rating of 3 stars by the Care Quality Commission, the independent regulator of health and social care in England. This is how Debbie Harris describes the organisation:
'The Name of my organisation www.best-care-home.co.uk. I have implemented 'personal recommendations' for care homes on my website.
I decided to encourage these recommendations for two reasons: to praise staff within care homes and to reassure members of the public that 'excellent' homes do exist - despite what they read in the newspapers.
Staff within care homes have to withstand numerous negative media reports about the care industry, rarely is a positive story reported. The personal recommendations within www.best-care-home.co.uk are evidence that many people are extremely thankful for the level of support and compassion that their relatives receive.
In addition, a recent study by Saga has shown that many people feel hugely guilty about putting a relative into a care home. The personal recommendations allow members of the public to read what others think about the home they are considering. It is very clear from the comments received that many relatives, residents and visitors to care homes want to thank the staff and make public their praise.
My aim is to encourage as many care homes as possible to display a poster, which can be printed off best-care-home and encourages people to contact me with their personal recommendations, visitors to the website are also encouraged to leave personal recommendations.
I believe that this information is invaluable for those searching for a care home. To date I have received hundreds of personal recommendations and every day I receive more, either via email or handwritten letters.
The initiative is proving extremely popular both with members of the public and the care homes whose efforts are publicly rewarded.
I must admit that the success of this enterprise has taken me by surprise, the constant negative media coverage led me to believe that nobody would have a good word to say about care homes - I am thrilled to be proved wrong and as one comment says 'Don't believe everything you read in the paper!'
Encouraging recommendations has become a feature on the home page of www.best-care-home.co.uk. Its strength is that it is an impartial site and not affiliated in any way to a care provider, as such the recommendations provided are totally unbiased. There is no reason why other impartial websites could not offer this service and for an existing site the costs are negligible.
Questionnaire - What do you ask a care home when you visit? Best-care-home.co.uk has put together a comprehensive list of questions in its care home questionnaire. Covering everything you need to know when you are considering a nursing or residential care home.
Best-care-home provides a number of useful aids when looking at care homes; questionnaires, allowance information, free care fees planning guides and many more useful pieces of information. This website has new information posted constantly, this information can range from; 'Checklists: What to take whn you move into a care home' to 'personal recommendations'.