What are your priorities?
When deciding on what care home is right for you, it is important to think what may be important for you when choosing a new home. Priorities to think about could include:
- Where do you want to live? Do you want to stay locally, to be close to family or friends? Or do you want to live in another area, such as where you grew up?
- How much can you afford to spend if you are not entitled to help from the Local Authority?
- What type of room would you like? Do you want to be able to take your own furniture? Would you want your own bathroom?
- Do you want to be in the city centre or countryside? How important are good transport links?
- Do you want visitors to be able to come and see you whenever they like? Do you need a home which accepts pets?
- How large a home would you like to be in?
- Are social activities and outings important to you?
Potential questions to ask when visiting a home
Once you have decided on your priorities, it is important to visit some potential homes and ask questions to staff and people living there. Here are some ideas for questions to ask:
- Is the home in a community you know?
- Are there good local transport links?
- Is there a car park?
- Is the area noisy or quiet?
- What are local amenities like? Are there shops/ a pub/ a post office/ a church etc.?
- What are you first impressions? Does the home have a warm and comfortable environment?
- Does the home feel safe?
- Is the home accessible? Are there lifts in the building or handrails in corridors?
- Are there a variety of communal areas to choose from?
- Is there a safe and secure garden or outdoor area?
- Are there ensuite facilities?
- Are there baths and showers available, and are these shared? Are they adapted to help people in and out of the bath?
- Is there a call bell system, and how does this operate?
- Can you redecorate your room and bring your own furniture?
- What is the view from your potential bedroom?
- Can you adjust the heating or open the windows in your room?
- How many sockets are there in your room?
- Are you able to bring pets with you?
- Are you able to lock your room, and is there a secure place for your valuables?
- Are there facilities for people with additional visual/ hearing needs?
- Does the home have the right equipment and/ or adaptations to meet your needs?
- Does the home have extra wheelchairs and walking aids available if needed?
- Is specialist equipment available to help people in the bathroom if needed?
- Are personal possessions insured?
- What are the arrangements for laundry and room cleaning? Is this included within the cost of the home or an additional charge?
- Do residents have their own GPs, or is there a doctor whom the home regularly uses? Are residents accompanied on a visit to the doctor?
- How often do professionals like the hairdresser/ physiotherapist/ chiropodist/ dentist etc. visit?
- Is there a choice of menu available?
- Can you choose what you wish to eat?
- Are special diets catered for?
- Are menus varied, nutritious and interesting?
- Can you eat in your own room or with other residents if you choose?
- Are snacks and drinks available any time of day or night?
- Is alcohol available if you would like this?
- Are visitors allowed to come and dine with you?
- Is there a dedicated activities coordinator?
- Are you able to pursue any hobbies or interests in the home?
- What type of activities and entertainment are usually available?
- Are there outings and holidays arranged?
Day to day life:
- Do residents look happy and well cared for?
- Do staff seem engaged and attentive?
- Are residents involved in decisions about the day to day running of the home?
- Are there any rules and restrictions e.g. what time you can leave, return home etc.?
- Are there set daily routines, or can you choose what time you get up and washed?
- If you smoke, are there areas for you?
- Can you do your own laundry?
- Can you help to prepare food?
- Can you help to clean your own room?
- If you are religious, is there support offered to help you maintain your practices?
- Are there set visiting hours?
- Are you allowed to handle your own money, and what are the arrangements in place?
- Does the home provide the correct level of care you need?
- Is an increased level of care or nursing care available if you should need this in the future?
- What is the staff turnover?
- What training to staff receive?
- How many staff are on duty, day and night?
- How do the staff interact with residents?
- How much are the fees?
- What is included and excluded with the weekly charge?
- Are fees reviewed annually?
- Do fees alter if your need changes?
- Are the fees affordable on a longer term basis?
- Is there a difference between the cost of the home, and the state contribution? Will you have to make this up?
- Does the home accept state support?
- Is there a trial period?
- Can you keep your room if you are away?
- Are all the procedures clearly explained, including complaints?
- Is the notice to terminate the contract reasonable?