Choosing a Care Home

When it comes to choosing a care home for a loved one, it’s a difficult decision that you won’t want to rush. A care home is a place to live that provides personal care for those who are vulnerable and need extra help in their daily lives. There will be help with washing, dressing, medication and toileting if necessary and even social activities that might include day trips. Nursing homes are slightly different and the care is provided by qualified nursing staff. Some residential homes are also specially tailored to care for people with dementia.


Try to visit a few different settings and talk to the members of staff. You might even be able to spend a whole day in a care home to get a really good feel for the atmosphere. Make a list of everything you want to ask so you don’t forget while you’re there. Ask if there are vacancies and if not, how long is the waiting list.

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Level of Care

Make sure that the homes you look at provide the right level of care for your loved one now and possibly in the future. If their needs change, you won’t have to find another home if you choose one that can provide different levels of care.

Inspection Report

You can find the home’s latest inspection report on the Care Quality Commission website or ask the home to see a copy. This will provide you will invaluable information on how well the home scores in a number of different areas.


If you, other family members and friends want to regularly visit, is the home easy to reach? Are there good facilities nearby such as shops, adequate parking, pubs or anything else you want within easy reach? Check to see if the home has good wheelchair access and ask about lifts.


Consider things like cleanliness, maintenance, outside spaces, pleasant views, good temperature and if the property feels inviting and homely. What are the rooms like and have they been decorated and equipped adequately. Would you be happy or comfortable living there? If the answer is no, then it might not be the best place for your loved one either.

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You’ll want to feel that staff are interested and genuinely concerned about the welfare of your loved one. Ask about staff levels and if there is always a manager on shift. You’ll also want to know about the levels of staff training, qualifications and how often their training is updated. You’ll want to be reassured that all staff have received an enhanced background check. For more information on jobs that require a CRB Check, visit


How much independence will your loved one have? Ask about whether they can bring their own furniture and belongings, can they choose to shower or bathe whenever they want to and does the home provide for any specific cultural or religious needs you might have. Are there set daily routines or can residents choose their own routine? All these are important questions to ask as they will have a big impact on day-to-day happiness and comfort.