Choosing the Right Care Home - Tips from a Care Home Manager

Making the move to a Care Home can be a big decision. We asked Care Home Manager Natalie White for some advice on how to choose the best option for you.

I’ve been a Care Home Manager for a number of years now and often hear how stressful families can find choosing the right one. Some people find the whole process daunting, but for others, it can be a relief to find that they are no longer on their own and can enjoy being cared for in the company of others.

How much time do I have to find a care home?

Some people may have the luxury of taking several months to choose the right care home, but for others, it may need to be a quick decision following a spell in hospital. Many people arrange their own care independently and others will be led by their Local Authority or Social Worker. It’s always a good idea to do your own homework in either situation.

Where do I start when looking for a care home?

A good tip is to know what category of care you will need as, when looking for a care facility this is often overlooked. It can be assumed that all care homes offer all categories of care, however, they do not.  You need to know whether the person who requires care will need Nursing Care, Residential care, Dementia care, Nursing Dementia, or a home that caters for specific conditions or disabilities. The age group of the residents in the home may also be an important factor, as not all care homes are for the elderly. If you're not sure on the type of care needed, the Manager within the Home can help answer any questions on this.

Read about the experiences of Elsie and her family and how they decided when a move to a care home was right for them.

Moving to a care home offers companionship

Moving to a care home offers companionship

What will the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Report tell me?

CQC and Local authority reports are a good starting place, they provide a totally independent review of care settings and will help you to choose a care home. On the CQC website ( it is possible to enter your postcode and search all categories of appropriate care homes within a nominated mileage range. Inspection reports are available for care homes of all categories and will give you an indication of the suitability for the person who may need care. It is a good idea to ask the manager of the home further questions about their report if you have any concerns or need clarification.

Things to do & look out for:

  • Visit the home unannounced. The staff at the care home should be happy to offer you viewing at any time. This way you will see everyday life at any time of the day you visit.
  • Have a list of questions ready you would like to ask. For example, ask what activities are provided, what residents will need to bring with them or if they can bring their own furniture if that’s important to you.
  • Ask about the food and whether they can cater for different dietary requirements, ask to see a copy of the menu
  • Do the staff seem friendly and engaging?
  • Do the residents you see look happy?
  • Why not ask a resident about their experience living at the home?
  • Is the environment suitable for the person you are helping find a care home?
  • Are the facilities suitable for a person having difficulties with cognition or mobility for example?

It is always a good idea to take the prospective resident to visit the home before a final decision is made. This will allow you to gauge their reaction and will help to calm any nerves and address questions that they may have. Many care homes offer the opportunity to visit several times or join mealtimes or activities before moving in day to help people familiarise themselves with the staff and the come.

We know that choosing care is a difficult process, so if you’re not sure how to choose a home or need some questions answered, please contact 01733 571951 or email

Our care team have put together a guide for finding the ideal care home for your loved ones - you can read this here.

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