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Moving into a care home: Preparation and packing checklist

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Career Opportunities at Fonthill House

Moving into a care home: Preparation and packing checklist

Fonthill House - Hertfordshire

Moving into a care home can be a challenging time, whether you are moving a loved one or you are moving in yourself. You are likely to be dealing with a wide range of emotions, so being fully prepared can help you to reduce any anxiety. We hope that you find our comprehensive checklist helpful and supportive — making you feel more in control of this transition.

1. Enquiries

Choosing a care home is a big decision — this is a new chapter. A loving and supportive environment is vital for the person moving in to lead their best possible life. Here are some questions you need to ask.

Are the staff welcoming?

First impressions are all-important — you should get a good feel about the care home on your first visit. The staff should be warm and welcoming — and not just at the first meeting. They need to be nurturing an ongoing welcoming environment — where families feel engaged in their loved one’s care and the person in care feels respected. 

Is the care home offering the care services you need?

There are different types of care services available, so you need to find out what the care home can offer the resident and the resident’s family. 

What activities are available for the wellbeing of the residents?

A care home should do more than take care of clinical needs — it needs to have relationship-centred care — an ethos of care which is built around the residents. The resident’s quality of life is directly affected by a positive culture at the core of the care home. You could ask for information on what activities are available for the wellbeing of the residents.

How do the staff get to know the residents?

You want to know that the staff involve the residents in their own care as much as possible, for a two-way relationship. The home should tailor the care to the residents’ individual needs rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach.  

What is the catering like?

Food contributes to our mental health as well as our physical health — so the meals should be jam-packed full of fruit and vegetables — but also need to look appetising. Eating well, with variety, acts as a mood booster. Mealtimes also provide a social opportunity and a highlight of the day. They need to be enjoyable! Ask to see the menus and find out if all dietary requirements are met. 

2. Preparation

Rather than just moving home, this is about moving lifestyle too. This will be a big change, but you can help make it a smooth experience if you plan as much as possible. 

  • Furniture. Moving down from a house or flat to one room will mean that you have to downsize your furniture. Talk to the care home about what items are included and whether you can bring any furniture. Ask the home for the measurements of the room so that you can plan around what will fit and can imagine a visual layout. Sometimes a care home provides things like a telephone, towels and bedding and sometimes you have to have these organised before arrival.
  • Personal belongings. Bringing personal items such as photo frames, artwork or ornaments helps to make residents feel at home. Residents also have to choose what clothes to bring as wardrobe space in a care home will be more compact. Ask the care home if you have to label the clothes before you arrive. Also ask the staff if you have to have electrical items checked by an electrician before you arrive. The care home needs to know if you are bringing anything valuable, in order to make sure that valuable items are covered by the care home’s insurance policy. 
  • Decluttering. Sorting through all belongings before moving into a care home is a big job. The items that are not taken to the care home can be gifted to friends and family, valued and sold, or donated to charity shops. A house clearance company can remove any final items that are left after this.
  • Contact Royal Mail to redirect mail. Friends and family also need to know the new address as well as the bank and any clubs etc.
  • Pets. If you have a pet, you need to know if you are allowed to bring them with you, or whether they have to be rehomed with a friend or family member. Alternatively, there is a charity called The Cinnamon Trust who will help to find your pet a happy new home.
  • Packing. If you are packing on behalf of someone or you are packing for yourself, write a list so that nothing is missed. This list could include:

✔ Things with sentimental value 

✔ Photographs 

✔ A pinboard for reminders and photos

✔ Cushions and throws

✔ A capsule wardrobe for everyday wear (ideally enough for two weeks)

✔ Radio 

✔ Clothes for exercising

✔ Clothing for parties or special occasions

✔ Clothes for crafting or art

✔ Warm clothing 

✔ Toiletries 

✔ Books 

✔ A folder or scrapbook about your family, interests and hobbies to show to staff and new friends

3. Moving In

  • Get support on moving day. Ask friends and family to help to make lighter work of moving furniture and to provide added moral support and cups of tea.
  • Create a familiar sanctuary in the new room. Decorate the room with familiar items.
  • Write down any questions for staff. 
  • Introductions. Walk around the home to say a hello to everyone after getting settled in. 

If you are interested in planning ahead and getting to know more about the Fonthill difference, then give us a call for a chat

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