A group of cheerful seniors enjoying breakfast in nursing home care center.

How To Choose A Care Home

Choosing a care facility

When you decide that residential care may be required, you should start looking into care facilities in your area to determine where you will be happiest and most comfortable. It might be difficult to make this choice, whether it’s for a loved one or for oneself. Nonetheless, there are a few actions you may take to ease the process somewhat. Below are the ways of how to choose a care home.


1. Get a Needs analysis

Make sure you (or the person you’re caring for) receive a free needs assessment from the local council’s adult social-care department before you start looking into nearby care facilities. This is especially important if you think you might require financial assistance from the local government, as councils only finance care when someone is determined to be in need of it.

It is always worthwhile to have a needs assessment even if you believe you will end up paying for your own treatment. It offers a qualified evaluation of the kind of care and assistance required, assisting you in selecting an appropriate care facility. It could also draw attention to other care possibilities that you hadn’t thought of.


2. Shortlist a few care facilities

Consider what matters to you.

Location, amenities, or specialized care for a particular medical condition, such dementia, may be involved. What do you view as desirable and what do you regard as necessary? When discussing care alternatives, you might also want to invite other close family members or friends.

If you begin looking for the ideal property, more inquiries will undoubtedly arise, but you can use this dialogue as a springboard.


Find out about suggestions

Do any of your friends or family members currently reside in or have recently lived in a care facility? A recommendation from a happy resident is priceless.


Search online

You can input your postcode in a number of online directories to view a list of care providers in your area right away. For instance, the HousingCare website allows you to search for care homes, retirement communities, and other care services throughout the UK. The Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC), a nationwide nonprofit organization that supports senior citizens in making educated housing decisions, runs the website.

Additionally, some commercial websites, such carehome.co.uk and caresourcer.com, (England and Scotland only) allow you to look for care facilities. Although you can utilize these services for nothing, you should be aware that some of these websites let caregivers pay a fee to prominently advertise their service.


3. Read the care facility inspection reports

Four watchdogs in the UK are in charge of examining and documenting care services. The reports, which are made available to the public, provide important information on how effectively a facility is run and the level of care it provides.

The care regulators in England and Scotland assign a quality ranking to each care provider. The inspection reports are available for reading, however, the authorities in Wales and Northern Ireland do not rate the service providers they examine.

The reports can also be used to determine whether issues raised by inspectors have been resolved or if they keep coming up in subsequent reports.

The statement of a high staff turnover rate may imply an uneasy, dissatisfied workforce, and the frequency of regular inspections may be a hint of issues.

how to choose a care home

how to choose a care home

4. Speak with suitable care homes

Call the care facilities you’ve shortlisted and start by discussing details on the phone. Directly discuss how the care facility can satisfy your needs with the manager. Ask the residence to be upfront about the costs as well. This will assist you in avoiding unnecessary trips. If you are self-funding, receiving local government support, or a combination of both, the home will want to know. You might not be aware of this yet, in which case you should explain the situation.

Ask whether there are any openings as well. You may eliminate any residences that aren’t acceptable by learning about pricing and room availability, either because they’re out of your budget range or because they’re lacking in space.

Get written cost information from the facility along with a brochure. When scheduling a visit, make sure you know who you’ll be meeting—ideally, the manager of the care facility—and confirm the appointment before you leave.


5. Go to the care homes

It’s crucial to tour every house on your shortlist in order to get as much information as you can.

The time has come to decide what matters most, from practical concerns like the social activities on offer to concerns regarding the care home contract, your potential room, and other events that take place in and around the home.

Visit the care home if you can with a friend or family member. Ask a representative from the home to come to you to assess your needs if you are unable to visit in person.


Use your senses

Use all of your senses to help you learn, in addition to equipping yourself with a list of questions: what you see, hear, smell, and feel during a visit is just as essential as what you are taught.

Look to see if the seating arrangement promotes conversation. Do people appear content, well care of, and at ease rather than sluggishly asleep? Analyze the environment for activity and things to do. This can refer to unplanned activity as well as intended activity, such as a more capable resident doing the dishes, newspapers nearby, or personal items like photos and ornaments lying around.

Hearing: Pay attention to chatter and laughter. Do the staff members who sit and converse with residents suit your tastes and theirs? Instead of inhabitants residing at a workplace, do the staff members sound like they are working in the residents’ homes? Shouting and the continual ringing of unanswered call bells are two alarming sounds to keep an ear out for.

Is there a fragrance of fresh air present, as opposed to air freshener disguising bad odours?

Feel: As you leave, do you feel good?

Make a surprise visit or two

Once you or a loved one has decided on the care facility you believe will be ideal, pay a surprise visit to learn more about the facility’s actual conditions.


Think about planning a trial stay.

It could be feasible to set up a trial stay if you want to experience what it’s like to live at a care facility. Ask the care provider if this is possible when you visit if you’re interested in doing so.

You might be able to set up a temporary stay as respite care if you often take care of someone who needs to transfer into a care facility so that you can take a break. Even if it’s only for a week or two, this can be an excellent chance to experience what it’s like to live in a care facility.


6. Pay close attention to contract provisions such as additional fees and care facility expenditures

When enrolling with a care home, it’s crucial to ask some vital questions concerning prices, extra expenses, and other contract details that are included on our checklist for care homes. For additional information on what to look for, visit our page on care home contracts.

If a care facility asks you to pay a top-up fee to cover room costs or upgrade to a room with a nicer view when your care is being paid for by the local government, say that you’ll discuss the matter with the local authority.


Choosing care that satisfies your cultural needs

You might wish to check if the care the home can offer is compatible with your cultural heritage or sense of self when selecting a care facility.

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