Visitors? No thanks!

Posted on June 13th, by geoff in CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times columnist & guest blogger JEF SMITH

The nearest care home to where I live is about three hundred metres from our flat. I often pass its door but have never been inside, so it seemed a good idea to plan a call on the imminent Care Homes Open Day. I wanted to be sure it would indeed be open to visitors, so a week before, as part of my daily shopping expedition, I knocked on the front door to enquire. It was a few minutes before midday.

There was what felt like a long delay before the ominous sound of locks being turned and bolts drawn back. The door opened a few inches and a scowling face asked what I wanted. I asked politely whether the home was participating in Care Home Open Day and was met with a vacant look, not altogether explained by the fact that the person I was confronting obviously had limited English. My explanation of what Care Home Open Day was about provoked even more suspicious looks. I could hardly have been made to feel less welcome if I had declared myself to be an experienced elder abuser or even a CQC inspector.

The label on her lapel identified her as a senior care assistant, but our conversation was proving so unproductive that I asked if I could speak with the manager. She looked reluctant, but when pressed she eventually agreed to go and look for someone in authority. The door was closed while she went away, it being clearly too dangerous to let a member of the public as far into the building as the front hall.

There was more delay, until another person, who eventually identified herself as the deputy manager, came to look at this obviously suspicious visitor. She declared herself to be totally in the dark as to the purpose off my call, so I started all over again. I could have saved my breath, for my carefully repeated outline of Care Home Open Day and its purpose was met at first with blank incomprehension and then with a firmly stated opposition to the idea.

So, visitors to that home are clearly not welcome – on Care Home Open Day, or I suspect at any other time. When my time comes to look for a care home for myself or anyone close to me, that one definitely joins my black list. Perhaps unfairly, it’s made me even more reluctant to consider a place in a care home at all.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

3 responses to “Visitors? No thanks!”

  1. Many thanks Geoff (and Jef) – a powerful story and (I suspect) not as uncommon as we’d like. One suggestion – away from the usual – would be for Jef to write to his local Healthwatch – I was at their annual conference last week and they very much see themselves as having a social care as well as a healthcare role.

  2. Bob Ferguson says:

    Before you react to one individual’s perception by sending in the cavalry – even the part-timers of Healthwatch – let’s not forget that it isn’t a sin not to know about – or to know but not to want any part of – Care Home Open Day.

  3. Ollie says:

    that’s pretty poor. I have worked in care homes for over 11 years and never had that happen at our place (and never will), but then we are a small home where the owners are actually working on the floor, doing the hard graft alongside the staff. Would love to have been in your shoes to share your shock! Was your visit in the middle of the night or something? A care home should always be open to the public up to a point of course. but someone should have taken the time to show you about the place or at the very least give you a brochure.

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