How to choose the very best care home

How to choose the very best care home

Finding a care home for a loved one can be a time consuming, traumatic and emotional experience. In this guest post Debbie Harris, from Chosen with Care, provides a brief guide on how to find the very best care home.

Before you even begin searching online for that elusive fabulous care home – because believe me they do exist, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

1.    What location am I looking in? Do you need to find a home that is near friends or family? How far are you prepared to travel to visit your relative and does it need to be near public transport for friends to visit?

2.    What type of care home am I looking for? There are three types of care home, Residential Care, Nursing Care and Dementia Care. Confusingly some care homes offer all three categories and some only offer one area of care. It is vital that you not only consider the care that is needed now, but care that might be needed in the future. This will ensure that your relative does not need to move home as their needs change.

3.    How much money do you have to spend. Good care homes are expensive. It is important to calculate how much money is available for care fees. The location and type of care that you need will affect how much you need to pay for care.

Once you have answered these questions begin your search online, a good website to look at is as they have the largest register of care homes in England.

Once you have narrowed down your search call the care homes. Speak to the staff and ensure that any particular requirements you have can be met by the home; for example, can mum bring her dog?

There is no substitute for physically visiting a care home, so once you have spoken to the care homes, arrange to be shown around. This will ensure your shortlist only consists of the very best care homes.

What makes a good care home?

Everybody is different and the best care home for you might not be No 1 for somebody else. So it is really important that you understand what your relative wants and what would make them feel comfortable.

Once you are in the home you need to be able to evaluate one care home against the others on your shortlist. You should consider the following points:

  • Ensure that the accommodation that is being offered suits the needs of your relative; is it big enough to bring in favourite comfy chairs and other pieces of furniture that might have a sentimental value?
  • A lot of care homes have en suite bathrooms, if this is important to you make sure it goes on your ‘must have’ list.
  • Other areas to look out for are activities that will stimulate and entertain and ensure that these are carried out regularly.
  • Discuss with the care home whether the food is freshly prepared on site and whether there is a choice of dishes.

However, most importantly talk to the staff. Engage them in conversation and see how they respond. The staff in a really good care home will talk to you and explain what they do. They should make you feel comfortable and reassured that the residents are their primary focus.

At Chosen with Care we visit a lot of care homes and because of our experience we are able to find the very best homes that meets the personal needs of our clients. We can save you a lot of time because of our expertise not only in what to look for in the homes but also because we know where to find the information about the homes.

Argo Life & Legacy work closely with Chosen with Care to provide support to clients and their loved ones. For more details and contact information for Chosen with Care visit our Partners page.

Published by Simon Crooks 7 September 2015