Parent Prompt List

It is vitally important to look at as many options as possible when researching potential future options for your children after school has finished, whether this is moving on to a specialist college, supported living setting or residential placement. Being prepared is key! You must look at all available services in your local area first – and take the time to visit every one of them. It is not enough to simply say “this is not an option”, without visiting it and saying why! We strongly advise you to take a note pad with you, so that you can make notes as you go along/straight away after the visit in order to write them up afterwards and create a “dossier” or “evidence pack” containing all your thoughts on how/whether a particular service could support your child.

We know how difficult this can be, as there may be services you know are not right for your children before even considering them – but you must go through the paces and visit them to say WHY they are not right. We find that taking a prompt list with you to every service is extremely useful, as it ensures you write down everything you see when you see it, prompts you to ask all questions you have in mind, and also helps to remind you of your visit afterwards when you go to write up your report.

We have collated a “prompt list” of questions which we find may help;

  • What time did you visit the home? (11am were people out or in? 1pm was lunch on?)
  • Was it sunny or raining ? How does weather impact on activities?
  • Where was the home – i.e. in a rural setting, on a busy road?
  • Was it in a big plot with a garden?
  • Was it purpose built?
  • What were your first impressions? Was it spacious? Room sizes? Ensuite facilities are a requirement now in residential settings.
  • Were there any smells?
  • Were the premises clean?
  • Well decorated? Curtains? Furniture?
  • Personalisation of the bedrooms?
  • Were the staff welcoming?
  • Was there a sensory room?
  • The Registration of the home is for how many?
  • What was the occupancy ie how many vacant beds? (Why were they vacant i.e. had anyone left and why?)
  • Is compatibility focused on when offering placements?
  • What were the residents doing when you arrived? What were the staff doing?
  • How many people were present in the home when you visited?
  • Mix of people and their sex?
  • What ages were they?
  • Diagnosis of the people living in the home?
  • What activities were listed – fulfilled days, therapies? Leisure activities? Outings? Any alternative activities put on for rainy days? What happens at week-ends?
  • Personal care – who carried out what?
  • The staff – Who was on duty? Any senior member of staff, team leading?  What were they like? Could they answer your questions? Did they interact with the residents?
  • What sort of training do staff get?
  • Does the organisation use agency staff and how often?
  • Night staff? How many people on night shifts?
  • What sort of epilepsy monitoring is done at night?
  • Did you get the feeling that a lot of TV watching was part of the activities? Also was shopping considered a main activity (!)
  • Food – What about dietary matters and healthy eating? Fast food the norm? Pre-prepared meals or normal cooking in the kitchen? Do residents get involved with cooking?
  • Care Quality Commission – Is the home compliant and when was the last inspection and unannounced inspection?
  • Safeguarding – How many safeguarding referrals in the last month. (If it is high not necessarily a bad thing and if low not necessarily a good thing)
  • Staff Turnover – churn rate of staff (If it is high, why? If it is low, why?)

We hope this helps! Please do refer to our other transition pages (click the link on the right hand side of the home page) for any more advice on transition options. Being informed can help you to make those all important decisions.

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