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So how do you know if a care home really is as good as it might seem from a short visit?
One of the best ways is to have an independent evaluation of what the residents, families and healthcare professionals really think about a home.
These reviews of Northfield House are taken from carehome.co.uk, a completely independent organisation and one of the premier resources for people looking for care facilities in the UK.
Northfield House has an overall rating of 9.7 out of 10 and is the highest rated specialist dementia care home in the Stroud area.
Home was bright and clean. Staff were helpful and cheerful, residents were always happy and well looked after.
Rooms seen were clean and care has been taken to make them "homely". The overall atmosphere was comfortable and the staff work hard to make it a "home from home".
Margaret had settled very well over the three years she resided at Northfield, unfortunately due to her Alzheimer's illness she could not concentrate for long periods. For example minutes which was difficult for the staff and carers and myself to take in the whispered answers in the conversations.
From my experience MUSIC was the key to jog the memory, Margaret has played the piano from 11 years old and electric organ, her memory jolted and she would sing words from old songs 30 years ago. I visited Northfield apart from short breaks over 3 years and can only thank the staff for everything they did.
I live at some distance from Stroud and can only visit some four times a year, but I am the nearest relation to the resident.
When we visit we are made welcome by the staff. My cousin is always nicely dressed and looks well despite her illness and great age. There is a good understanding of her condition by the management and staff and she is treated very much as an individual. Although we cannot comment specifically on food and diet, she always looks well fed and seems to look forward to her meal.
The general ambience is cheerful and caring. The new garden is a masterpiece of creativity and design which can only be of physical and psychological benefit to the residents.
Mum moved to Northfield House from hospital in April 2014. Initially for respite and then long term care. Mum is so happy there - and we are thrilled to have found somewhere caring and loving. The staff are all lovely an lively! A lot of younger carers as well as experienced but they all have the same thing in common - care and compassion.
Northfield is not a new build (a lot of other nursing home, we found quite sterile) but it has a friendly lived in atmosphere, where mum finds reassuring more like being in her own home.
When I realised that my mother was no longer able to live in her own home, I was so worried about finding a place for her that I would be happy with. I visited many homes, some were ok, but I was holding out for a Very nice place. Fortunately a good friend of mime had a son who was working on some plumbing at Northfields House.
He thought that the home and staff were marvelous, I took that as being a better recommendation than being escorted around being shown what they wanted me to see. I was very impressed with everything at Northfield. I like the staff, the occupational therapist were wonderful, and the rooms were so clean and bright, it reminded me of a good hotel.
I liked the garden area, and the way that although it was safe, if anyone wanted to walk around outside, they were free to do so (escorted if needed). I myself felt very welcome each time I visited. I cannot think of a nicer place for my mother. I would not hesitate to recommend Northfield House to anyone.
I visit the home to see my mother on a regular basis and always find the staff to go above and beyond to help in every way.
The care is always in my mothers best interest and I would not hesitate to recommend this home from home to others.
During the time my Mother has been at Northfield House (20 months) the family have always been completely satisfied with the care she has received.
The home always has a pleasant smell and her room is decorated to her taste. The staff can often be found helping my Mother with her Jigsaw puzzles and giving her copious cups of Tea.
My wife and I visited all the care homes in the Stroud district and collectively agreed that Northfield House offered the best care available. Our views were confirmed whilst my mother was a resident in the home.
She was treated as an individual, not simply as a bed-resident. The staff were caring at all times and coped with my mother's dementia admirably. Nothing seemed to phase the staff. In this context they were wonderful.
It is a home which I would wholeheartedly recommend.
My mother was very well looked after, the room was always clean, as was the bedding.
The staff always took care when dressing her, by matching a jumper with a skirt, etc not just putting things on with no thought. It is the little things that count, as my mother always liked to look her best, they even painted her nails.
Having a hairdresser on site makes it easy to make sure the ladies and gentlemen look their best.
Would certainly recommend Northfield as a warm and friendly place.
My Mother has been a resident at Northfield House for 6 years, I am always made to feel welcome when I visit. The home has a friendly home from home atmosphere. Mums health has deteriorated due to her Dementia, the staff work hard to make Mum look nice, she is of a Welsh origin, and a memory box has been made to help mum's memory of Wales.
Her room is made very personalised also to help mum feel at home. Nothing is too much trouble for the Staff at Northfield it is just like one big family. I cannot speak highly enough of Northfield, and have often recommended it to others.
I am very happy here. The staff are very lovely and will help me when I need it. The food is good. The house is kept in immaculate condition.
Read our CQC Report