How to Pick a Suitable Care Home

Written by Active Minds on Friday the 24th of November 2017.


Picking a care home for a loved one can be a distressing experience. You want to make sure that you are finding them the best possible care home, in a clean and comfortable environment, but more often than not you have never stepped foot in a care home and may not know what to look for.


What type of care home should I pick?

There are two types of care homes that your loved one can move into – residential and nursing homes. Whilst both provide personal care, such as eating, dressing and washing, nursing homes also have professional nurses on duty 24 hours a day. Depending on the type or stage of dementia your loved one has, you may find one more suitable than the other.

How do I find a care home near me?

The Care Quality Commission website has a list of all care homes in England, including their most recent inspection reports. For Wales the website is the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales and for Northern Ireland take a look on the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority page. For those in the US, Caring Village’s free Senior Housing Directory can help you locate the best senior housing options near you.

How do I know which care home is right for my loved one?

As with any big decision, make sure you don’t rush your choice. Visit a number of homes, and return a few times, preferably on different days of the week and different times of the day. As you look around the space you will instinctively get a feel for the place, but take some time to look at certain aspects of the home such as the décor, cleanliness and see how the residents are engaging with staff and activities going on. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, care homes should be happy to answer any queries you may have. Take a look at our ‘5 Things To Think About When Picking A Care Home’ blog for some more information on what you should be looking out for.

Are there any useful resources to help me with my decision?

Absolutely. The Care Quality Commission (and respective organisations in Wales and Northern Ireland) are there to provide independent reviews and inspections on all care homes in Britain, so is a source of unbiased information. You can also contact the Citizens Advice Bureau who can provide guidance or point you in the direction of suitable help. Similarly, there are a vast number of charities who are on-hand to guide and advise, including The Relative and Residents Association, who offer support and help on any issues related to care homes for relatives of people in care.