Housing and care home options
Choosing a care home
Sometimes it's no longer possible for you or another family member to stay living safely in their own home, and it may be preferable to move to a residential care home.
You can choose a residential care home without nursing care or a residential care home with nursing care. Care homes provide 24-hour care services including accommodation, meals and personal care.
Searching for a care home
You can search for care homes near you on the NHS website using your postcode or town name. Make sure to click on the link called 'Visit CQC profile' within each entry to understand the specialist services each home offers such as over 65 years, dementia care and nursing care. This will help you better select an appropriate care home.
Selecting a care home
Moving to a care home can be an emotional time and you may worry about finding a suitable care home for yourself or a loved one.
If you require financial support with paying for your care home contact the Adult Social Care Team to request a Care Act Assessment to determine eligibility for care and support by completing this online form.
After completing this assessment, we will arrange a financial assessment to work out if you need to pay and how much. We will also make sure you are receiving all the benefits for which you’re eligible.
You'll be allocated a social care practitioner who will contact you to arrange a convenient time to carry out the assessment.
Following this 4 step process should help you become more informed about how to choose a care home.
Consider the location of the care home - For many people the area where their care home is located is very important. You might want to consider:
- The GP - many people are reluctant to change their GP especially if they've been with them for many years. If a care home is outside of the GP's catchment area, then the care home will need to arrange registration with a new local GP.
- Access to health care - if the person living in the care home has to regularly travel to a particular hospital or see a certain specialist, it's a good idea to think about how easy it will be for them to attend these appointments from the care home’s location.
- Friends and family being able to visit regularly - how easy will it be for relatives to reach the person’s new home? If family members can't visit as often this may cause the person in the care home to feel isolated and lonely.
- Access to social activities - to ensure a person can continue to reach and visit friends, go shopping or attend social activities, as long as their health allows
Research the care homes in your preferred areas - The next step is find out about the care homes in your preferred areas.
- To focus your search, consider what is essential and desirable for your future home.
- Search for homes in your preferred area on the NHS website - the listings link to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) summary of the quality and safety of the care home from their previous CQC inspections. Search for a care home without nursing on the NHS website OR Search for a care home with nursing on the NHS website.
- Check if a care home has a website - this can provide useful and answer important questions.
- Ask friends and family for their experiences - this can help you save time and possibly prompt recommendations or uncover any shortcomings with a particular home.
- Read about choosing a care home for dementia patients - a booklet by The Alzheimer's Society for carers or a family member who's looking for a care home on behalf of a person experiencing dementia.
- Create a shortlist of your preferred care homes for visiting.
Visit your preferred care homes - Visiting the care homes you liked from your research should help you choose a suitable home.
- Download a care home visit checklist (96kb pdf) - this checklist is designed to help you when visiting a care home. It lists things to look out for, questions you might like to ask and has space to write notes.
- Read choosing the right care home for you - a guide created by Age UK which gives advice for visiting a care home.
- You can visit a care home before making a decision - it's important you feel comfortable with the care home you choose.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions when you visit - the more information you have, the more confident you should feel about making the best choice.
Apply for a place at the care home - Once you've decided on a suitable care home, you may wish to consider applying for a place.
- If you are organising your own care you can do this by contacting the home manager directly.
- If RBK is involved in finding you a care home they will liaise with you directly and support you through the process.
Where to get help with choosing a care home
There are a number of organisations who can help you choose a care home.
Age UK - largest charity dedicated to supporting older people.
Alzheimer's Society - charity specialising in support for people with dementia and Alzheimer's.
Care Quality Commission - organisation responsible for rating care homes and helping people to choose the right care home for their needs.
Independent Age - charity offering advice and support for older age.