Choosing a care home

Published: Wednesday 11th September 2019

Choosing whether to move into a residential care home – and if so which one – can be daunting.

To help you choose the right care home to meet your needs, we’ve put together our top 10 things to consider.

Resident and care worker smiling Gainsborough care home

Online is a good place to begin your search. You can get lots of information about local care homes on the web.

But sometimes, it can feel bewildering, like there’s too much choice. Here are 10 points that we hope will be useful in helping you narrow your search.

Choosing a care home – out 10 top tips

  1. Location

    Is the residential care home close enough to family and friends so they can visit you? Does it have good transport links? Is there a bus stop nearby? Is it close to local amenities, like shops and a doctor’s surgery? Do you want to be in town, or in the countryside?

    Have you thought about whether you’re keen to carry on being part of your local community? If you’re a member of clubs, or you like going to your local library or a favourite cafe, which care homes are within reach?

  2. Level of care

    Is the care home able to provide the care you need? What happens if you become more frail or your needs change? Can the home cope, matching their level and type of care to your needs, or will you have to move?

  3. Staff

    What’s the ratio of staff to residents? What training do the staff receive? When you met them, what was your first impression? Were they kind, compassionate, friendly? Did they treat the residents with respect and dignity? Did call bells get answered promptly?

    Do the staff get involved in activities, really getting to know their residents? Do they know the residents by name, and understand their likes and dislikes?

  4. Personal needs

    Can the care home cater for your cultural and spiritual needs? Are they able to support you in going to your place of worship, or community groups? Do the staff take an interest in your life outside the care home?Does the home arrange for a dentist, optician, chiropodist and hairdresser to visit on a regular basis?

  5. Likes and dislikes

    Do you like a routine and a setting where a lot of things are done for you? Or would you prefer to be encouraged to be as independent as possible, and expect to be consulted about most decisions? Will you receive person-centred care individually designed with and for you?

    Do the staff encourage their residents’ independence, choice and control over their care? Would you have a say in what you do and when, and how your care is provided?

  6. Social activities

    Does the home have a full-time activities co-ordinator? What activities are organised, and how often? Will you be able to keep up any hobbies you’re still able to do? Are there trips out?

    Ask whether local community groups have a connection with the care home. Do nearby schools visit, or toddler groups? Are there opportunities to be involved with local craft groups or lunch clubs?If there’s a social activity that you’re not interested in, can you choose not to take part? Is there quiet space to sit away from the group?

  7. Meals

    What’s the food like? Is it freshly prepared by the home’s own chefs/cooks? How much choice is there? Does the home turn meals into social occasions and encourage residents to eat together? But also, would you be able to eat in your room if that’s what you prefer?Does the kitchen team ask for feedback from the residents about what they’d like to see on the menu? Are there snacks and drinks available throughout the day?If you have specific dietary needs, such as Coeliac or gluten-free, can the care home meet your requirements?

  8. Facilities

    Does the care home feel like a comfortable home-from-home? Is it well-maintained? Are there welcoming communal areas? if the communal lounge has a television, how are the programmes chosen? Is there a separate room without a television, for those who want to be quiet, or to chat with visitors? Is there wi-fi?

  9. Pets

    Can you bring your pet with you? Does the home have animals living there?

  10. Trial period

    Can you move in on a trial basis, to see whether the home and its staff can meet your needs, and for you to see if life in a residential care home is what you expected?

What should I look for in a residential care home?

When you’re looking for information, be sure to visit the Care Quality Commission’s website. The CQC monitors and inspects care services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and they publish what they find to help people choose care.

Have the homes you’re considering been inspected? What was the outcome?

Funding residential care costs

Something to think about before you visit a potential new home is how your care will be funded. You may qualify for some level of funding from your local authority or the NHS.

Choosing a care home near me – our checklist

After your online research, nothing beats visiting a residential care home in person to get a real feel for the place. Can you picture yourself living there?

Download our handy residential care checklist to take with you when you visit.

Agincare is a family business built on strong family values. Our founder and Chairman takes a personal interest in the way each of our homes is run, to make sure it supports our core values – a homely, warm and welcoming approach, high-quality affordable care, choice and independence.

Each of our care homes is different, with its own individual style and facilities. But we work with all our staff, residents and families so every resident feels happy, respected and cared-for, wherever they live.

Alternatives

After all your research on residential care homes, it may be that you’re not ready to take that step and move out of your home.

If you need support, what’s the alternative? We’re happy to say, there are options:

Live-in care: affordable 24-hour care in your home

Our live-in care service gives you or a loved-one one-to-one support in the comfort and security of your own home from a carefully matched care worker. With prices starting from £795 per week, it’s an affordable alternative to moving into a care home.

Domiciliary care (home care)

We’ve been providing reliable, flexible and affordable home care for more than 30 years. With our support people can live independently at home, with a carer helping you get up and about in the morning, making sure you take your medication at the right time, feeding pets or helping you move around the house.