Care seeker pre-visit check list

Two sayings ring true when it comes to care home visits; "Failure to plan is planning to fail" and "First impressions count".

A care home is always a busy place, however, finding time to familiarise yourself with new enquirer details before they come for a look around the home can pay dividends.

TrustedCare arranges over 1,000 home visits a month; below are 10 key areas to check prior to a visit to ensure maximum success from the care seekers visit.

1. Print off a copy of the enquiry form

Print off a copy of the enquiry form or any notes you have about the care seeker who is coming to visit the home.

If a conversation has taken place over the telephone and you have invited a prospective family in to come and see the service, make sure a copy of the notes that were taken during the conversation are to hand. If the enquiry was taken by another member of staff, ensure that a handover of the enquiry has taken place.

Care seekers often tell of their frustration of having to explain their situation again upon arrival, it shows a lack of communication amongst team members. Even worst, no one has communicated that they are coming...

2. Let the team know there is a visit taking place

It is really important that all the team know (as best as possible) that a visit is taking place, nothing is more powerful than staff at the home knowing the names of care seekers when they arrive.

We know of many instances where a family has been persuaded to place a loved on into the home because all the staff knew they were coming and greeted them by name as they undertook the tour.

If your service is fortunate enough to have kitchen staff, ensure they pop out to greet prospective family and engage in a conversation about dietary requirements and favourite meals. This once again demonstrates a level of interest and engagement which could tip the scales in your favour.

3. Check the outside of the home is clean and tidy

First impressions count and are formed before the care-seeker even gets to the front door of the home.  Care seekers are looking at all aspects of the home with a critical eye; they are looking for reasons as to why a home or service is not the right one for them, a messy car park with overflowing bins or pot plants outside with dead flowers does not give the best impression.

Check the following:

  • The outside and car park are clear of litter and cigarette butts
  • Refuse areas are tidy or concealed
  • The path to the door is clear and unobstructed
  • There are no dead flowers in pots or hanging baskets outside the home
  • Garden furnuiture is standing and orderly
  • Old and out of date promotional material is taken down

4. Check there is parking available

If your home has a car park, try to ensure there is a parking space made available for a care seeker who is coming to visit.

Prospects will be picturing themselves at the home visiting their loved one, if they have to circle the car park several times or park in a residential street away from the home this will not form a favourable impression of the service from the outset.

If parking is available, care seekers will almost certainly not consider this an issue in the future.

5. Check for unnecessary odours at the home

From time to time there can be unpleasant smells and odours at a home, prior to a visit makes sure you undertake a walk around to ensure these are at a minimum and where possible resolved.

Care seekers often state odours at a home as the primary factor to put them off of a particular service for a loved one.

6. Check that the home is clean and tidy

It sounds simple but often this is overlooked; take a walk through the home on the same route you would take a care seeker and be critical of what you can see.

  • Ensure that reception is tidy and the visit book is at hand, if you have certificates or awards make sure they are visible
  • Check that all rooms and communal areas are tidy and free from rubbish
  • Remove any obstacles in hall ways and corridors
  • Ensure that all notice boards are relevant and up-to-date

7. Ensure that the empty bedroom is made up

Nothing puts a care seeker off like an empty room, one full of boxes and storage or even worse, one which still has the name tag and possession of its previous occupant...

Helping the care seeker to visualise the potential of a space really helps, in a bedroom this could include:

  • A well made and comfortable looking bed
  • Bedroom furniture such as a bed side table, lamp and chest of draws
  • A few knickknacks such as books, ornaments and nutral photos frames
  • Towels in a bathroom / wet room

It is important to find a balance between making a room feel homely and someone still living it in.

8. Lay the dining room tables

Much like empty or messy bedrooms,  dining areas can really leave a sour taste in the mouths of prospective care seekers. If you have the capacity and resources, it is important to lay the dining room up for the next sitting.

Often dining rooms serve as multi-functional spaces, doubling up as activity rooms, it is important to ensure that the space is clean and tidy before the visit from a prospective care seeker.

Obviously, this is less so if an activity is in progress but feedback from care seekers shows that the dining arrangement at the home play a part in the decision making process.

9. Make sure menus and activity plans are up to date

We have received feedback many times from families who have commented that the services they have visited did not have up to date activity plans or menus to hand, this has given the impression that the home is too stretched to update them, or that they simply do not change.

10. Have a welcome pack ready and the kettle on.

Being organised prior to the care seekers arrival will ensure that the experience that they receive at the home leaves a positive impression.

A warm and welcome hello with the offer of refreshments is a great start, having a brochure pack ready will save time and will ensure that the care seeker is not left waiting while you scramble through cupboards to find one.

Families are looking for trust and organisation when it comes to the care of their loved one, they are viewing you critically to gauge how you measure up and if they feel confident in your ability to deliver the support they seek.

To find out how TrustedCare could help support your care service to improve conversion rates and increase occupancy, please give us a call.

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