Care Homes

Making the decision to give up your own home and go into a Care home is often very difficult and distressing. Nevertheless, trying to remain at home can become an awful struggle not only for yourself, but also for your carers and family.

A well run Care home where you will be respected and where your wishes and views are taken into consideration can be a very satisfactory alternative. Knowing that you will be looked after, that your meals will be regularly available, having people around you and that you will be warm and safe can be very reassuring when it is no longer easy to do everything for yourself.

In this section we will do our best to give you sufficient information so that you know what you might expect from a Care home and from a nursing home – and suggest how you should make a choice of accommodation. The longer you give yourself to plan this move the more likely you are to make a satisfactory choice from all the alternatives on offer.


Recognising your specific needs

Until recently care homes were categorised as either Nursing or Residential Homes. The distinctions have now been removed – although some homes will be better equipped and staffed to provide nursing care than others.

Where nursing is provided, the regulations state that a suitably qualified nurse is on duty at all times. Both types of home provide accommodation, all meals and personal care, such as assistance in bathing, getting dressed or going to bed.

At a home which does not specifically provide nursing care, residents may need special nursing provisions – such as treatment for a leg ulcer. This may be provided by a Community Nurse, or there may be a qualified nurse on the staff team.

Some homes specialise in caring for people who are confused. These are known as EMI (elderly mentally infirm) homes. Where possible, we have indicated in our regionalised listing those homes which provide this type of service.

If you are contemplating care in a home, it is probably sensible to ask your local authority Social Services Department for an assessment of your needs. Even if you are able to pay for the care yourself, an assessment may be helpful in deciding which home will suit you better. If you need funding from social services to pay for the care, an assessment is essential – see The Role of Social Services and Funding your Choice.


How to Choose a Care Home

All homes are required to be registered with and inspected by The Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC has the responsibility for ensuring that Care Homes are run according to the standards of care determined by government – and the homes have to be inspected at least twice a year.

You can contact The CQC by telephoning 03000 61616. It will have details of all Care Homes in the area you are interested in, together with latest inspection reports. You are able to search a complete online directory at:

You have a right to choose which home you go into although, if it is to be paid for by the local authority, a maximum weekly cost will be laid down. The local authority should then supply you with a list of homes which provide care at the price which the authority is prepared to pay. There may also be some homes which are owned and run by the local authority.

Having determined the level of accommodation cost available to you, think very carefully about the priorities you are are seeking.

• To be close to friends or family

• To be in a small friendly home• To be in a very well furnished and decorated home

• To have a single room

• To have a pleasant view from your bedroom

• To have a garden which is accessible

• To have en suite facilities

• To have a choice of communal rooms

• To be in a home where there is a choice ofactivities

• To be in a home which is near shops and a community

• To be in a home where you can stay in your own room as much as you want, including at meal times if you wish to do so.


When you have decided on your priorities you could start to get information about homes in your chosen area.


You can find a care home to match your needs and lifestyle by linking to the definitive, constantly updated search facility of the Elderly Accommodat

Use our lists to help you, or ask your Social Services Department for assistance. Telephone the homes and ask for a brochure. From these you will be able to identify those homes which most closely match your criteria. You should read any Terms of Business or Terms of Admission documents very carefully and make sure that you are entirely happy with all the conditions therein. The urgency with which you need to move and what vacancies are available may rule out some homes, or suggest that others are worth considering.

If at all possible, you should visit any home before making a decision. Ask a friend or relative to come with you, or perhaps to visit on your behalf if you cannot undertake a visit yourself.

For access to a comprehensive list of questions to ask and things you should look out for during an inspection visit, click here.

When you feel confident that you and your family/friends have selected the home which is right for you, ask if you can come in for a few days’ trial period before you make the final move. Most homes will be happy to agree to this.

If you were personally not able to inspect the home, the home supervisor would probably still want to meet you and reassure him/herself that the home will be able to meet your needs and that you will fit in happily.

Finally, if no Terms of Business or Contract of Residence was supplied with the brochure of the home you are considering, make sure you establish written terms – which are signed by you and the Home. Your solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau will be able to give you advice in this respect.

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