What to look for when choosing a care home

Our top tips for finding the right care home

The UK care homes sector is worth almost £16 billion a year, with around 410,000 people currently in living in 11,300 care homes. With these kind of numbers, finding the right care home can sometimes feel like finding a needle in a haystack with so many practical and emotional considerations to take into account – location, cost, care quality and standards. The nature and quality of care your loved one receives will have a huge impact on their health and happiness so it’s important to take the time to choose carefully. We hope these simple steps will help to steer you in the right direction.

What kind of care is needed?

This is an important starting point. In our previous blog, we explained the differences between a care home and a nursing home. Which one you choose will depend on the level of care required but you should expect most homes to undertake an initial care assessment with the person entering care, often with input from family or friends, social workers, care managers or their GP.

Choose the location

Once you have an understanding of the type of care required, you need to consider whether your loved one would prefer to stay in the same area or move closer to family or friends to make it easier for them to visit or provide additional support. Once you have identified the best location, you can start to narrow down your search and draw up a shortlist of homes, using Google or an online search directory of care homes.

Check quality standards

The established independent regulator for care homes in England is called the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and their role is to conduct regular inspections of all care homes to ensure they meet government standards and can help identify any areas for concern. At this stage it’s useful to read the reports of your shortlisted homes and if possible, some third party reviews, which are often available online (eg. www.carehome.co.uk)

Visit and meet the team

It is important to find a home from home environment in which you or your loved one feels comfortable so make time to visit all the homes on your shortlist. Get a feel for each place – look around, meet the manager, talk to staff and residents. Ask about the expertise, recent training and qualifications of staff. See if you can have a meal with residents – do they seem comfortable, alert and interested in what is going on around them?


The cost of care can vary hugely depending on the level of support required, so ensure you discuss the costs thoroughly with each care home manager to ensure you have a full understanding of what your care will cost. There may well be some options available to help fund the support you need so explore what your entitlements might be too.

Settling in

When you do find the right care home, moving in can be the start of a positive new life; making new friends, taking up new hobbies or rekindling interests that weren’t possible without the help of friendly and supportive staff.

At Birchwood, there’s always the option for potential residents and their families to enjoy a tour of our beautiful manor house and grounds, take a look around one of the 31 en-suite bedrooms, sample a meal in our sunny dining room, take part in one of our many activities – and of course meet staff and residents to find out more about life at Birchwood.

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