Where to start
There are five key steps involved in choosing a home.
1. Work out what you need
A needs assessment by a trained professional, such as health or social worker will help you establish the level of support you require, and the type of home best suited to give you this. For example, this will help clarify whether a residential or nursing home is more appropriate, or whether you need a home offering more specialist services. Further advice can be obtained from your local social services department or general practitioner.
2. Work out what you want
Apart from ensuring that the home will be able to meet your physical needs, it is important to consider other things that are important to you in your environment. For example, will you be able to take certain items of your own furniture and possessions; what is the social life of the home like and what kind of amenities are close by.
3. Work out how you will pay for your care
As well as a care assessment, you will need to undertake a financial assessment to help you establish how best to fund your care and whether you are eligible for any state support. A number of agencies and organisations can help with this. For more information on this, see paying for your care.
4. Do your homework
It’s important to do your research when looking for a care home. You can obtain lists through Internet directories, from social workers, community nurses or agencies such as Age Concern.
Once you’ve identified homes in your area, you can find out a lot of information from their website and from reading the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) report for that home, which is prepared by the independent regulator of care homes. However there is no substitute for actually visiting any homes you are interested. So once you have a shortlist, prepare any questions you might have and head down for a visit.
5. Trust your instincts and make a final choice
Of course any home you choose must tick all the boxes of your needs, criteria and budget. With those criteria met, however, you’ll find it often comes down to the feel and atmosphere of a place, and the confidence you have in the team delivering your care. Don’t fight this. It’s best to go with your instincts and choose the place you think you’ll be happiest.