Choosing a Care Home

The journey that you embark upon when choosing a care home for a relative or a loved one is a difficult one. There are many emotions involved and many things to consider. For those who are new to this experience, it can be a very confusing time and, as such, we have compiled the following guide to to help clarify the steps that you will need to take in finding the perfect home.

STEP 1: Contact a Social Worker

If you are aware that your loved one requires residential care, the first step that you should take is to contact a social worker at your local hospital and explain your needs. Those who have previously experienced psychiatric problems may already have an allocated social worker who will be able to help and provide advice. However for those with no psychiatric history, your initial point of contact might be a GP or Community Psychiatric Nurse who will in turn refer you to a suitable social work department.

Your allocated social worker will assess your loved ones’ needs and then provide you with a list of homes that will provide suitable care and support. It is then your responsibility to contact these homes for further information and to arrange viewings.

STEP 2: Visit Shortlisted Homes

We would advise that you visit a selection of care homes prior to making your choice as to where to place your loved one.

Ask to look at each home’s user guide, as this will give you valuable input regarding the home`s policies and philosophy of care and indicate what the home will provide in its service to your relative. Never be afraid to ring the home with any questions that you think of after your visit.

Opposite, we have provided a list of points that should be considered during your visits to your shortlisted service providers.

STEP 3: Assessment

Once you are happy that you have found a suitable home that will provide a high standard of care and service to your love one, your social worker will inform the chosen home of your decision and a member of staff will subsequently come to assess your relative to ensure that the home is capable of providing the level and type of care that is required.

STEP 4: Funding

If your loved ones’ care will be funded by the council, the case will be sent to panel for funding to be approved and initiated.

For those who are privately funded, you will be able to liaise directly with your chosen care home to discuss payment arrangements.

STEP 5: Settling In

Once all funding arrangements are in place, your loved one will be in a position to move into their new home. A care home with the correct ethos should not only enrich the life of your loved one but also make your life better so that the time spent visiting will be a positively enriching experience.

While it may take some time for your relative to completely settle in to their new surroundings, the care home’s team of staff should happily assist in making this transitional period as stress-free and seamless as possible.

Points to consider when choosing

  • Location of the home – Is it easily accessible?
  • The ambience is very important. On entering the home are you greeted with a warm and friendly smile and made to feel welcome? Do members of staff take time to ask questions about your relative and take notes; are you informed about the daily life in the home?
  • Are the menus varied and does the home cook meals on the premises?
  • Does the home have a chiropodist, hairdresser, visiting dentist. Are newspapers delivered? Is there a garden?
  • Are there any activities to keep your relative stimulated?
  • On being shown around the communal areas, is there plenty of room for walking around? Look at individual space in the lounge areas and check the décor and cleanliness of the communal areas.
  • How is the bedroom? Think of what you want to bring into personalise a room i.e. furniture, a favourite armchair, ornaments, photographs, pictures for walls this is important as it is going to be your relative’s home. Would they prefer an en suite room?
  • If you are shown a few rooms do not be afraid to ask to see the first one again.
  • Ask to look at the service user`s guide, as this will give you input regarding the home`s policies and philosophy of care and indicate what the home will provide in its service to your relative.
  • Never be afraid to ring the home with any questions you think of after your visit.

Why not read through one of our brochures?