’This is a book that should be read by professionals as it has clearly had a severe impact on the author and understanding the impact on families from any kind of care is a vital perspective.’
Title: When the Unacceptable Becomes the Norm. Choosing a Care Home in the 21st Century
Author: Bill Lawrence
Publisher: Matador Books
Reviewer: Lynne Partington, Project Coordinator and Specialist Advisor, The End of Life Partnership, Cheshire
What was it like?
Written from a personal perspective and based on a family’s experience, this book is clearly written from the heart. It makes emotive reading regarding numerous issues and problems related by the author when finding a care home for his mother and the six years that follows. The author depicts many examples from this period of care, but then often applies them to care homes in general, difficult when it is based on one person’s care in a single care home and making it seem unreasonable to many care homes who do provide good care.
What were the highlights?
Throughout the book, there is some useful advice provided based on the authors’ experience, such as accessing information brochures and guides about what to look for. However, the author states that most are published by care homes and the information is therefore slanted or, at worst, used to discourage potential users from identifying key issues. It would have been useful to have also signposted to independent advice such as those provided by Which?, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and the NHS UK, to name a few.
Strengths and weaknesses:
The author’s mother stayed in the care home in question for six years, from which the reader could assume that there were likely to have also been examples of good care: it would have been helpful to have reflected on what can be considered good provision in care homes to support people to also know what to look for while making these decisions.
Who should read it:
This is a book that should be read by professionals as it has clearly had a severe impact on the author and understanding the impact on families from any kind of care is a vital perspective. I would, however, exercise caution in recommending it to those seeking a care home. This is not because bad practice or poor care should be covered up, but that a more objective and balanced read would be more helpful for those who are facing this real dilemma.
when the unacceptable becomes the norm