When it comes to choosing a care home for your relative, we understand that you want to do everything you can to make sure their care and social needs are met and most importantly, they will be happy living in the home you choose.
Choice of care home
The number of homes you have to choose from will depend upon the area in which you live, how urgent your need is, funding and the availability of beds. It is possible that you may need to wait for a bed to become available in a home of your choice, or your choices may be limited.
If your relative has been assessed by the local authority as needing 24 hour care and support, the local authority has a responsibility to find a suitable home. You should have a choice, however in practice, your options may be a little limited.
It is helpful to have an idea of:
- Where you want to look – how far you want to drive or travel to visit your relative
- When you need a bed – how urgently does your relative need to move?
- Funding – your relative’s financial situation and how they plan to fund their care. If they have been assessed by the local authority, you may know how much funding your relative has available to fund their care. You may need to support with additional funding depending upon the home you select.
- Type of care your relative needs – if your relative has had a local authority assessment, you will be clear what type of care you need to look for. If your relative hasn’t had a local authority assessment and will be funding their own care, you need to have a clear understanding of their care requirements. A good Care Centre Manager can help ask the right questions.
Our top 3 tips on how to make an informed choice
1. Locate suitable homes in your area and make a shortlist
Make a shortlist of homes that match the type of care your relative needs. Care home operators use the following terms: Residential Care, Nursing Care, Dementia Care or might say that they care for specific illnesses.
Use sites such as the Care Quality Commission cqc.org.uk or carehome.co.uk to search for care homes in your immediate area. The carehome.co.uk website offers reviews of individual care homes from families and residents. Both of these websites allow you to search by postcode. Alternatively, take a look at the care homes Meridian Healthcare offer in your area by using our search on the homepage or selecting the Care Centres link on the menu above. Our managers would be delighted to help in any way they can.
2. Get in touch with care homes on your shortlist
Telephone each home in your 'shortlist' to establish:
i) can the home provide suitable care for your relative?
ii) does the home have a room available?
iii) establish the likely fees per week for this type of care.
This will help you to narrow down to a shortlist of care homes that fit your criteria, have available beds and are within your potential budget.
3. Visit each care home personally and with your relative if possible
Many people only visit one care home. When you are selecting somewhere for your relative to live, it is important to gather as much information as you can. Visiting more than one home on your list will give you a good feel for what goes on in a care home and which home 'feels right' for your relative. If you have time and the home has availability, most care homes will encourage your relative to come for lunch or a short trial visit.
Have a think about what is important. Do you definitely want an en-suite single room? Do you want somewhere that has lots of activities? It is important to think about these things and to discuss them with the Manager of each care home. Take a set of questions you want answering with you, as it is quite easy to forget what you wanted to ask once you are looking around. Don't be afraid to ask questions.