There are a number of ways to find out about care homes. If you have a social worker they should provide you with information about care homes.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) can provide detailed information about care homes and is the independent regulator responsible for regulating and improving the quality of health and adult social care services in England. The CQC is responsible for regulating and inspecting residential care homes and home care agencies against essential standards of quality and safety. The CQC can provide you with a copy of its latest inspection report on a specific care home.
It is recommended that you, a relative or friend arrange to visit your preferred care home to see what the facilities are like and whether they meet your needs. Below is a useful quick guide and checklist of things to consider when choosing a care home for yourself or a member of your family.
Contact your local council social care services to find out what they usually pay for; this can vary around the country. Questions regarding fees that you should consider asking include:
Will you or relatives be expected to make up any difference between fees and what the council will pay?
What services does the fee include?
Are there additional charges for using services and facilities such as Laundry, Hairdressing, Chiropody, Extra Care, Leisure activities, Incontinence pads, Newspapers, Toiletries
Every member of staff who works in a care home in England and Wales is subject to a Standard or Enhanced Criminal Records Bureau disclosure (CRB check). During your visit it is important to consider the staff in the care home, as you will have contact with them on a daily basis. Some things to consider:
Does it look like there are enough members of staff?
Did they have time to sit and spend time with residents?
Did staff treat residents with respect and dignity?
Did you notice any members of staff talking with or assisting the residents?
Can any of the staff speak your first language if it is not English?
During your visit take the opportunity to view all facilities for your use in the home. Think about:
Do the facilities look well looked after?
Has the home got up to date equipment to meet the needs of the residents
Are rooms available as single or shared occupancy? If shared, how is privacy achieved?
Do the rooms smell fresh and clean?
Can you have your own television with you?
Can residents have personal possessions in their rooms such as pictures, plants and furniture?
Are you allowed to take your pet?
Will you be able to have a telephone in your room to make private calls?
Are there different sitting areas including quiet rooms?
Is there a separate dining area?
Are there plenty of easily accessible call alarms to alert staff if you needs assistance
Is the care home near to your family and friends?
Is it convenient for shops, public transport and your doctor?
Is there an area for you to sit outside if you wish to do so?
Is the menu varied and interesting?
Can you choose what to eat?
Are residents involved in planning the menu?
Can you choose who you sit with?
Can you be served extra portions if you still feel hungry?
Are special diets catered for?
Do you have a choice of what and when to eat every day?
Can you invite your relatives and friends to come and have a meal with you, as you would at home?
Are there organised leisure activities?
Can you choose to take part in these activities?
Will there be an additional charge for leisure activities?
Would you not be able to take part if you couldn’t afford them?
Will the home meet your religious needs?
General questions to ask
Will you be free to have people visit you at any time, as they would be able to if you were living at home?
Do residents get the chance to take part in making decisions about the general life in the care home?
Is there a residents committee?
Can you take part in planning and reviewing your own care?
Do you have all the information you need?
Did they explain their costs and charges properly?
If you are going to pay for you own care, were they willing to give you a blank copy of their contract for you to look at after your visit?
Were they confident to let you meet and talk to existing residents and their families?
Did they ask many questions about you – your likes and dislikes?
Did you get the impression that you would be living your life the way you choose instead of having to fit into their routine?
Did they seem happy to answer all your questions?
You should consider whether the home has a waiting list or has a current vacancy. You can ask the home if it is possible to arrange a trial period to make sure the home suits you and meets your needs.