Families are being offered the chance to call in independent help to help them check out care homes for their loved ones.
A new project ny Healthwatch Sunderland has started to compile reports on all 47 residential and care homes across Wearside to assist those on the search for accommodation.
It says it was moved to put together the reviews because the decision can be a difficult and emotional one made even harder due to a lack of “real information” beyond basic details and marketing.
As an independent watchdog for health and social care provision, the Healthwatch Sunderland team says it has tried to tackle this issue and given an insight into what life is like as a resident and family member of someone who lives in the homes
Chairman Alan Patchett said: “The information needed by people looking for a suitable care home should provide a real sense of what a home may be like to live in and answering the questions we would all have before making one of the most important decisions of our lives, whether this be for ourselves or our loved one.”
As part of the visits they Healthwatch team have formulated surveys to compile information and feedback from residents, their friends and relatives, as well as the staff who work at the homes.
Based on eight key indicators the surveys have been put together to be used in a care home setting and focus specifically on issues of quality, how much residents and family can have a say in how the home is run, and whether residents are able to pursue their hobbies and other areas which give them fulfilment.
Some of the questions the Healthwatch Sunderland team have asked the residents have included what residents think of the food, if there is enough choice of meals and drinks, what the staff are like, do they have time to stop and chat, do they get the chance to do the things they enjoyed before moving in and if they are asked for their feedback.
It also looks at whether they have been to see a dentist or had their eyes checked in recent times.
The site is split into areas of Sunderland, then its surrounding areas, with the answers to the questions displayed using a traffic light system.
The information needed by people looking for a suitable care home should provide a real sense of what a home may be like to live in.Alan Patchett
Dairy Lane Care Centre, one of those to have been reviewed, shows all green responses, helping readers gauge a quick feel for the feedback.
The reviews also detail who owns the home and who is in charge, the names of the councillors responsible for the ward it is in and the constituency MP and NHS leaders for the area.
The first reports have been uploaded to www.healthwatchsunderland.com/care-homes-in-sunderland with work underway on completing the remainder.
The organisation has said feedback from those who have used the information so far has been positive, with voluntary organisations, community groups and MPs among those to have had their say.
More details about Healthwatch can be found via its Facebook page, on Twitter via @HWSunderland.