In an ever-changing technological world, are review websites the way forward when choosing a care home? As reported in the Telegraph, this may be closer than we think.
In the UK, if we are self- funded we might be able to decide which care home is right for us or our loved ones. But how well informed are we? Sometimes, people don't have the benefit of time and decisions may be made quickly during stressful, emotional events. This means that we aren't always prepared, nor do we have the necessary information readily available to make "the right call".
All care homes are subject to Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. Although they look at how a care home is run and assess whether they're running within guidelines, the inspections are informal and don't consider how the residents feel. Care isn't just about technicalities, it demands relationships, time, respect and trust. So, where can people find honesty?
carehome.co.uk is already being used to gather honest, personal reviews about care homes and, although in its infancy, it still has a long way to go for this to become the norm with many of the care homes not holding any reviews. All reviews are vetted and people are encouraged to send complaints direct to the home, not to place them as a review.
So, does this really provide a realistic overview of the home? Another negative to this, is that many of the actual service users won't be placing the review themselves. This will be down to friends and family, which although they can be honest, they will rarely be subjective as many family members will be emotionally involved in the process. Also, will they know how their loved one truly feels?
If this system of reviews, providing honest, subjective accounts is to succeed, then people will need to govern a safe, effective, non-intrusive way of gathering the information. This is the only way to ensure that everyone is provided with the information they need to make an informed decision.
In a world where TripAdvisor rules a lot of our decisions on where to stay and where to eat, isn't it time to include care home information as well, so that useful and honest feedback is there to help make this very hard decision a lot easier.