Choosing the right care home

It is important to remember when looking for a suitable care home that it is likely to be “home” for the rest of your life.

This means you need to give some thought to who you are and in what kind of environment you will be most comfortable as well as the more practical issues of the staff, the accommodation, level of care available, attitudes to visitors and so on.

Things to think about are how important is the location? Would you want to be able to go out and about while you still can and therefore want good public transport links?  Do you prefer an urban or a rural setting? Are you a sociable person or do you need some quiet time in your own space in which to retreat?

Knowing yourself and what you will tolerate before you even start the process of checking brochures and websites or visiting is crucial.

Once you do start looking, it is very useful to start by checking out information about the homes in the area you are considering on the CQC (Care Quality Commission) website, where you can view past and present inspection reports, current ratings and recent findings. The next step is to check out the individual care homes website and social media pages such as Facebook and Instagram to see not only how they present themselves but also what daily life appears to be like and if the residents look well cared for and happy.

Once you are at the stage of visiting the homes you have identified as potentially suitable, keep your eyes and ears open and trust your instincts. Some questions you may want to consider while visiting are whether the buildings and grounds are well maintained? Is there an accessible garden or courtyard? Does the home and its gardens feel inviting? Do the staff seem welcoming and friendly? Is the home clean and does it smell fresh? Are the rooms a comfortable temperature and well decorated? It is also important to know what activities are provided for residents’ varying interests and abilities.

Most importantly, of course, is that the home keeps comprehensive records about you, your likes and dislikes, any medical conditions you might have, whether it provides both social and nursing care and also how it deals with any issues or problems with staff and visitor access.

Choosing the right care home is a big decision and a long-lasting one so you should never feel guilty about taking your time or visiting more than once before you commit.