Our Guide to Choosing a Care Home

Choosing a care home for a loved one can be a difficult task. At a time when emotions are running high, there are important decisions which need to be made to ensure the best quality of life possible. Every person is different, and the right care home for one person may look completely different for another.

Pay a Visit

When deciding which care home is best for your family member of friend, it is incredibly important that you stop by for a chat and a look around. Brochures can give you an idea of the available facilities, however it is the friendliness of the staff and the social elements which will really improve the experience of the individual. We’d recommend picking a few of your favourite care homes and arrange to have a tour of each.

Upon arrival you should inspect the quality of the facilities on offer. Each individual will require different aspects to make their stay as enjoyable and carefree as possible. For example, someone with dementia might benefit from a personal orientation board or memory boxes. These will help them to interact with carers and orientate themselves in a new environment.

The proximity of the care home to relatives and friends is also vital for happiness. Many older people struggle with loneliness, and it can be tough to go from an environment where they are surrounded by places and people they know to a completely new and unfamiliar place. Choosing somewhere nearby makes it easier for friends and families to visit, and keeps everyone included.

Our Guide to Choosing a Care Home, family

Care Home Furniture and Layout

If your loved one isn't very mobile, then you should consider the distance they’d have to travel to go outside, use the toilet or interact with others. If there isn’t an en-suite available, is there a commode that could be placed nearby? The facility should also feature specialised care home furniture to improve the safety and comfort of those with limited mobility or conditions such as dementia. For example, drawers with open-viewing sections can minimise confusion and upset.

Many care homes have adapted to suit the needs of their inhabitants, however you should take note of the amount of stairs there are as these prove to be a challenge. Ramps and grab rails can make improve both confidence and safety when faced with these obstacles. In some cases, care homes are able to provide one level access. This is highly beneficial as the individual will have more independence and improved safety.

Check its Inspection Ratings

Of course, your initial experience and feelings towards your chosen care home are an important factor in the decision process. However, we would always recommend that you read ratings offered by independent, reputable regulators such as Care Quality Commission. They focus on the key aspects of care, including the compassion of staff, the responsiveness of the service provided and the safety measures in place. When you compare this to your own visit, you can make an informed decision on which care home is best for your needs.


Choosing a care home should involve a careful consideration of costs, the personality and requirements of the individual and the facilities on offer. However, the best place for individuals should not be based on finances.  In some cases, funding is available to help cover the costs. The NHS offer a Continuing Healthcare scheme which is available for older persons living both at home and in care facilities. It involves an assessment of the capabilities and cognitive abilities of the individual. To learn more about how you can apply for this, visit the NHS website.