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      Choosing a residential care home

      If you’re deaf or have hearing loss and think you need residential care, or if you’re looking for residential care for a friend or family member, you’ll want to make sure the care home you choose takes account of the importance of good communication.

      Getting an assessment

      If you think you or someone close to you may need residential care, the first step is to contact your local adult social services department for a care assessment.

      This considers how a person's needs, including their deafness or hearing loss, affect their ability to carry out daily tasks and participate in their community, as well as the impact on their personal wellbeing.

      Communication support, such as more time to communicate or a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter, should be provided for the assessment if needed.

      Following the assessment, you'll get a list of the person's care and support needs, as well as information on suitable care and support services in your area.

      The amount the person is expected to pay for their care will depend on their personal income, savings or whether they own property, as well as where they live. People who require nursing care or are assessed as having severe or complex health needs may be eligible for NHS funding or payments.

      What to look for in a residential care home

      Care staff should have a good knowledge of hearing loss, deafness, hearing aids and the importance of good communication:

      1. They should carry out regular hearing tests and be aware of the role of the GP in referring people for an audiology assessment.

      2. Hearing aids should be cleaned regularly and care staff should be able to carry out basic hearing aid maintenance – for example, the replacement of hearing aid batteries or tubing.

      3. Care staff should follow simple communication tips and allow more time for good communication when providing care. If the person requires support from a communication professional, such as a BSL interpreter, this should be provided.

      4. Care staff should be aware of the assistive technology older people with hearing loss may wish to use such as a hearing loop systems or TV listeners. Older people who are deaf or have hearing loss may also benefit from flashing smoke alarms or other alert systems that can help them live safely and independently.

      5. There should good opportunities for older people who are deaf or have hearing loss to participate in social activities within the care home. In particular, older people who are deaf will benefit from regular contact with family, friends or other members of the Deaf community.

      What to do if you’re unhappy with care

      If you’re unhappy with the quality of care, you could raise the issue with the residential care home manager. If you want to write a formal letter of complaint, request a copy of the care home's complaints procedure and make sure you include:

      • what or who's causing the issue of concern? If it's a member of staff, give their name and position (if known)
      • precise details of events that illustrate the issue you are concerned about, including when and where they happened
      • what action has already been taken and the results
      • what you want to achieve with your complaint.

      If you don’t want to this or if you’re unhappy with the outcome, there are other organisations you can contact to make a complaint, depending on where you live and who funds your care or the care of someone close to you.

      The following organisations can provide information and advice on the different social care complaints processes across UK: