Choosing a care home
To help you decide which care home to choose, it may be useful to have a look at the care home’s latest inspection report. The inspection report should give you details of the extent to which the care home has met essential standards of quality and safety. You can obtain copy from the Care Quality Commission. For contact details please see ‘Further Information’ section.
You can also get information from your local council about care homes that are not meeting essential standards of quality and safety in your area. For contact details please see ‘Further Information’ section.
It may be helpful to visit care homes with a close friend or a relative so that you can compare notes and get a second opinion. When visiting the care home you may not have a lot of time to decide if it is suitable so it is a good idea to prepare the questions you want to ask before you get there.
Care Choices Ltd (contact details in ‘Further Information’) publish regional Adult Care and Support Services Directories. In each directory there is a ‘Care Homes Checklist’ which is a list of useful questions you can use as a prompt when you visit a home.
The ‘Care Homes Checklist’ covers:
First impressions e.g. Does the home feel homely and welcoming? Is the home clean and comfortably furnished? Do the residents seem happy and sociable?
Accommodation e.g. Are bedrooms single or shared? Can you control the heating in your room? Can you lock your room?
Life within the home e.g. Are visitors welcome any time? Does a hairdresser visit? How much choice do you get about meals?
Fees and contract terms e.g. how much are the fees? What services do the fees cover? Under what circumstances will the fees alter?
You may also want to consider having a ‘trial period’ at your chosen home to assess its suitability for you. Most care homes can offer respite care (short stay), temporary or permanent placements. Having a short or temporary stay will give you more time to see if you want to make it your permanent home.