Husband speaks of heartbreak and fears over finding the right care home for wife

JPCT 010313  Paul  Milwright. Photo by Derek Martin
JPCT 010313 Paul Milwright. Photo by Derek Martin

A Pulborough resident has expressed his ‘fear’ and disappointment with the standards of care homes.

Unable to cope on his own, Paul Milwright recently had the heartbreaking decision to find his wife Elsie a suitable care home.

“Most of them out there are rubbish,” said the 60-year-old.

“All I wanted was a safe and friendly environment with plenty of entertainment and activities, but with some of the care homes I visited there’s not enough room to swing a cat.”

Diagnosed with dementia, Elsie, 83, required care around the clock, but Mr Wilwright found it a difficult journey before finding her Oakhill House Nursing Home in Horsham, which he is thankful to have found.

‘Before Oakhill I was fearing the absolute worst.

“It was from hearing what other people had experienced and the stories on the news.”

Last week, the Alzheimer’s Society found that 67 per cent of people in the South East would be very or fairly scared about going into a care home.

The report, entitled ‘Low Expectations’, found that excellent care does exist, but that pessimism about life in care homes is leading people to settle for less.

Mr Milwright understands why people are so concerned about the quality of care homes in the county.

“Some places only let relatives visit at meal times and evenings, and that means one word to me, prison.

“Other places just smell.”

One way to find out whether a care home meets the national required standards is via the Care Quality Commission website, which provides a report of all care facilities in the UK, but Mr Milwright believes the organisation is not thorough enough.

“They find faults with paperwork when they should be enforcing the minimum standards. They ought to be a lot tougher.”

With at least 80 per cent of care home residents having dementia or severe memory problems, Alzheimer’s Society is calling on the government and the best care homes to do more to ensure minimum standards and more effective regulation.