How to Choose a Care Home

how to choose a care home illustrating an elderly couple under a roof supported by cusped hands below the couple as if to illustrate the care and support they would need when choosing a suitable care home.
Have you recently decided to move a loved one into permanent residential care? For many, this can be one of the most challenging decisions a person will make. However, with the right support, you can ensure that no matter what residential care home you choose, your loved one feels right at home and surrounded by people they can trust.


At Cedar House Care Home in Leicestershire, we specialise in high standards of care in a safe and stable environment. So, whether you’re considering accessing residential care through Cedar House or another provider, this guide will take you through what to look for when choosing a care home.


What are the signs of a good care home?


Quality care is essential no matter what care home you choose. The charity, Independent Age, has developed a set of quality care indicators that families should consider in their care home search and which we have summarised here:


  1. Strong, visible management
  2. Employs staff with the time and relevant skill sets
  3. Has a good knowledge of each resident and their changing needs
  4. Offers a varied programme of activities
  5. Offers quality, choice and flexibility around food and mealtimes
  6. Ensures residents have access to health professionals such as GPs and dentists
  7. Accommodates residents’ personal, cultural and lifestyle needs
  8. Has an open environment where feedback is encouraged and actioned

What should I look for in a care home?


Before choosing a care home, it’s vital that you find out everything about the care home in question before making a final selection. Remember, this is a decision that will impact you, your loved one and your family, so it’s important not to rush into anything.


Here are some key points to consider:


Match the care home to the level of care your loved one needs


There are many different types of residential care homes across the UK, from homes which provide specialist nursing and dementia care to homes which offer a safe and stable home for people who may require some additional assistance with day-to-day life. If your loved one only requires short-term care, this is also possible.


Ensure that the care home you opt for provides the level of care that your loved one needs. If you’re unsure about what type of care your loved one requires, their GP can advise as well as the Care Home Manager. At Cedar House, we can cater for residents with physical disabilities, early dementia and terminal illnesses. You can read more on our website about the types of care we offer.


Understand the costs

If you’re trying to find a care home, it’s important to calculate that the average weekly cost of living in residential care in the UK is over £700 per week, depending on the quality of the facilities and type of care provided.


Make sure you visit a variety of different care homes to understand what is on offer for the different price points and any additional fees that you may incur. The cost of residential care homes can vary substantially between homes, so shopping around is advised. However, depending on your situation, you may be eligible for residential care funding to help meet some or all of your care costs. We know that funding residential care and understanding what amenities and care are on offer can be a significant concern for many, so do not hesitate to contact us or book a visit for more information.


Check for accreditation and licensing

It’s important to thoroughly assess any care homes on your shortlist before making a final decision. Remember to have a thorough read of the home’s brochure and most recent inspection report – this is usually found on the care home’s website. If you’re having difficulty, you can look for it on the CQC website.


You can read Cedar House Care Home’s most recent CQC report here.


Consider the location


Location is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a care home. If your loved one has strong social and family connections in their local community, try and find a care home in the same area so they can maintain their relationships. The last thing you want is for your loved one to feel alone and isolated, so keeping them close to family and friends where possible is ideal. In addition, finding a home in beautiful surroundings (whether in the countryside or by the sea) can also help their well-being. For example, Cedar House is a sanctuary for our residents, located in the beautiful Leicestershire countryside but within easy reach of local amenities for some fun days out.


Visit the care home in person


When attempting to find a suitable care home, planning a visit will help ensure you choose the right home for your loved one. This will give you an opportunity to meet the care home staff and qualified nurses, ask any questions, tour the premises, and get a better understanding of the activities and amenities on offer. Additionally, it’s an excellent opportunity to get to know the residents and their views on life at their care home. Try shortlisting the homes that most appeal to you and weighing up the pros and cons before making a final decision.


Get to know the home


If your relative is to feel at home, they need to ensure that they have the space to be themselves. Therefore, ensure that the home offers amenities and activities to match. Not everyone wants to be involved in a full day of activities – some residents prefer time on their own to relax. So, as you visit the home, find out what space is available for residents to be away from the noise and bustle. Conversely, you want to know that your loved one will feel included, so check that the activities match their interests and that there is plenty of diversity.


At Cedar House, we actively promote a range of residential care activities, so there is never a dull moment. From dedicated entertainers to arts, crafts, bingo, exercise, and fun outings, we aim to ensure our residents are physically and emotionally fulfilled and always cared for.

Enquire about the waiting list


Once you and your loved one are certain that they want to move into a care home and you’ve explored potential homes and assessed their care services, the next stage is enquiring about each home’s waiting list.


Work through your list of preferred homes and spend time speaking to the managers to see if there are any waiting lists. It is worth spending time to ensure you find the perfect home so that you and your relative will be assured they will be well cared for and supported emotionally and physically.


Final thoughts

Finding the right residential care home for your relative will take time, so it should never be rushed. Instead, make sure you do your research thoroughly, visit several homes and consider your final choice carefully. By following our tips, you can be assured that you have found the perfect residential care home to match the needs of your loved one and that they will be content and well looked after in their new home.