Help with choosing a care home | Care UK

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Choosing a care home

Choosing a care home

Understanding the type of care you need is an important first step in finding a care home that is right for you.

Searching for the right care home is not something any of us do every day. Often when the time does come, it can be quite stressful for all involved. Whether one of our homes is right for you or not, we are here to provide some guidance on the factors you might want to consider in choosing a care home.

Step one: Understand your needs

There are many different types of care homes, ranging from homes which provide specialist nursing or dementia care to others which simply offer a safe and comfortable new home for people who may need a little assistance with daily life.

Which one you choose will obviously depend on the level of care required. Most homes will work with the person entering care to undertake a full care assessment, often with input from family or friends, social workers, care managers or GPs.

Step two: Identify the best location

Many care home residents have strong social and family connections in their local communities, and will often stay in the same area to maintain these relationships. For others, moving into a care home can provide an opportunity to move closer to family or friends to make it easier for them to visit or provide additional support.

Once you have an understanding of the type of care required and the location which best meets your needs, you can start to develop a shortlist of homes. There are a number of online care home directories which can provide a good place to start, or you can just use a few Google searches to narrow your search.

Step three: Check on quality standards

At this stage you should also take some time to check third party reviews of some of the care homes you may be considering. The established independent regulator for care homes in England is called the Care Quality Commission. They undertake regular inspections of all care homes to ensure they meet government standards and can help identify any areas for concern. In Scotland, the independent regulator is the Care Inspectorate and in Wales it is the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales (CSSIW).

Step four: Visiting shortlisted homes

Once you have shortlisted a number of homes, it is well worth the time to visit each of them to look around, meet the manager, speak to staff and residents and get a feel for life within that home.

Just like family homes, care homes differ considerably in character and atmosphere and it is important to find an environment in which you or your loved one feels comfortable. This is very much about personal choice and a visit to the home will enable you to get a feel about everything from the care home team and how they approach care to the general buzz and atmosphere of a home.

Step five: Cost of care

The cost of care can vary greatly depending on the level of support required, but there may well be some options available to help fund the support you need. It’s important to know your entitlements at this stage, and to ensure you discuss the costs thoroughly with each care home manager to ensure you have a full understanding of what your care will cost. We know this is one of the biggest concerns for people looking for care, so have included a section on this site to help you better understand your funding options.

Step six: Settling in

When you do find the right care home, moving in can be the start of a positive new life. Many of our residents take up new hobbies or are able to rekindle interests that weren’t possible without the help of friendly and supportive staff. They make new friends and learn new skills which enable them to live happy and fulfilling lives.

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