Choosing A Care Home
You may wish to remain close to your present home, relatives and friends or General Practitioner. If you are considering a change in location, consider:
- Would you prefer to live in the locality or community you have been used to?
- Is the home situated where relatives and friends can visit you easily?
- Will you have to change your GP?
- Is there easy access to public transport, local amenities, parks, church, post office or shops?
- Are the surroundings too noisy or too quiet and what would you feel comfortable in?
The checklist below is not intended to cover all needs but to provide an awareness of points to consider when choosing a care home - too many negative points may seriously affect the standard of care.
To search for CQC registered homes with and without nursing in your area please visit the CQC care homes directory.
- Does it have a caring proprietor?
- Does the place look bright and welcoming?
Take the terms and conditions of residence and brochures and read them carefully.
Try to assess how the home feels:
- Are the staff welcoming and caring and how do the other residents seem when talking to them?
This will become your own private place and must be comfortable:
- Is it shared or single and what is the outlook?
- Will it accommodate personal possessions or some of your own special small pieces of furniture?
- If you have a pet, can you bring it with you?
- Are there telephone or television aerial sockets?
- Can you have your own telephone with a separate number?
Consider what facilities the home needs to offer and the type of care you need, for example:
- If the accommodation is not on the ground floor, is there a lift?
- Do any of the following visit regularly: minister, hairdresser, chiropodist, library etc.?
- Can you manage any steps in or around the home?
- Are there smoking and non-smoking areas?
- What are the arrangements for laundry and dry-cleaning?
- Is there more than one lounge, or quiet area?
- Are there regulations about staying in your own room?
- What lifts or bath-aids etc. are there?
- Is there a garden and can residents use it?
- Is there a facility to secure valuables and are personal possessions covered by insurance?
- Are disabled or special medical needs adequately catered for?
- Does the home provide facilities to pursue interests or hobbies? - an important point in caring covered under the 'enabling' aspect of the Department of Health's Adult Social Care personalisation agenda.
- Is there private access to a telephone and are amplifiers available if you are hard of hearing?
- Are there enough staff on duty?
- Do they respect residents’ privacy and help with personal care?
Look at some sample menus. It is important that you have a good balanced diet chosen from food you enjoy:
- Is the food interesting, varied and of good quality?
- Is there a choice of menus?
- Are special diets catered for?
- Can you take meals in the room if desired?
- Can you offer visiting friends or relatives refreshments?
Does the Home have rules for residents, and if so are they acceptable? These may include:
- Set times for going to bed, getting up, or having a bath
- Visitors may be allowed only at certain times or not in your own room
- Can you consume alcohol, and if so where?
Finally, can you afford the fees? Be clear of what is included, such as the cost of personal hygiene or medical needs and personal laundry.
Remember if fees are being paid from capital it will decrease very quickly.
Work out how many months it will last and, most importantly, find out whether the home will agree to accommodate you on state support if required?
When you move into a care home and you are funding the cost yourself, you need to consider the future very carefully. Ask the care home owners what would happen if you became unable to continue paying for your care. Would they accept Local Authority rates at some point in the future or would you be asked to move to cheaper accommodation. Would they accept top ups from a third party?
Ensure that anything decided is written down for future reference. If you are in this situation please contact us or use our FREE HELPLINE on 0800 0699 784.
Any difficulties or problems you encounter should first be taken up with the home proprietor. If you are unable to satisfactorily resolve the problem, it should be referred in writing to the social services department, or health authority homes inspector. If the outcome of the investigation is not satisfactory, you can take your complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman who can provide an independent complaints review service. They can be contacted on 0300 061 0614 or via www.lgo.org.uk/complaint-form.