Security for the service user gets forgotten once they enter the home, feeling safe is a fundamental psychological need for everyone. Yet we remove people from their home where they have lived for most of their adult lives to a place devoid of familiarity and comfort. One single room with furniture and decor that is unknown to them, introduced by a stranger. Outside the door is a corridor with strange people walking some with purpose and some because they too have a feeling of loss and are searching for an answer. The staff will meet you with a smile, a drink and in no time because they are busy leave you to find your own way around, make yourself familiar. Yet when the service user’s family visited they got a full tour of the home.
Night time becomes a frightening place, shadows, unfamiliar noises causes trauma, confusion and yet it is expected that the service user will settle and if not a doctor will be called to hold a review to see if you need medication to help you sleep. When all you needed was someone to take the time to understand and reassure you, comfort you when you ask to go home. National Minimum Standards (2000) states “Prospective service users and their relatives and friends have an opportunity to visit and assess the quality, facilities and suitability of the home.”
Much like the service user’s family were shown the home, the staff will need to take time to introduce the service user into the home, to staff and other service users. National Minimum Standards (2000) states “Service users find the lifestyle experienced in the home matches their expectations and preferences, and satisfies their social, cultural, religious and recreational interests and needs.” How often when we first had a holiday in a foreign country were we confused, feelings of being alone with no family or friends to help us, no understanding of the language. Yet the home must feel strange and frightening to the service user.