Questions to ask when choosing a Care Home

We realise that the decision to choose a care home can often be one of the most difficult decisions that a family can make together. This guide is to give you a few useful suggestions about what to look out for when visiting care homes to help you decide which care home is the right one for you.

Key Considerations when choosing a care home

1) Does the home provide the level of care you need, or that you might require in the future?

2) Take a look at the most recent report on the care home from the CQC (Care Quality Commission).
CQC is the governing body in England that regulates and inspects care homes.

3) Does the care home have any current vacancies?
If it does not, ask how long the waiting list is so that you are able to decide if you can wait, or if you need to consider somewhere else that you can move into sooner.

Your Care



Does the home give you a full healthcare assessment before it accepts residency?

Do the current residents seem to have a similar level of care requirements to you?

Is the home a specialist in Dementia?

Does the home have a partnership with a GP practice for residents?

Are residents helped to the toilet if necessary when they need to go?

Is there a policy on when incontinence pads and catheters are used?

Care Home Staff



Are the staff friendly?

Do the staff appear to treat the residents with respect and kindness?

Are the staff engaging with residents at all times?

Do the staff appear professional and courteous when passing residents in corridors?

Are the staff that show you around helpful?

Are there members of staff who speak your preferred language?

Is there a manager in position and a senior member of staff on duty at all times?

Care Home Facilities



Do the buildings and grounds appear to be well-maintained?

Is there a garden or courtyard and is it well-kept?

Does the home and garden area feel welcoming and homely?

Is the home clean?

Does the home smell fresh?

Are the rooms at a pleasant temperature?

Are the bedrooms attractive and well decorated?

Does the home use signs / pictures to show where things are and distinguish between individuals’ rooms?

Does every bedroom have a private en-suite bathroom?

Are accessible toilets available in all parts of the home?

Do toilets have handrails, raised toilet seats and other mobility aids?

Are there modern movement-triggered lights in the bathroom?

Are there touch-sensitive bedside lamps?

Is there a ‘hub’ area (perhaps in reception) where relatives and residents can sit comfortably and have a cup of tea and cake?

Is there movie area facilities?

Is there a hair / nail salon on site?

Is there sufficient parking at the home?

How often do beauticians attend the home?

Food and Beverage in the care home



Can residents eat when they feel like it? (later/earlier than scheduled?)

Are visitors able to visit during meal times and can they have meals?

Can residents and visitors make themselves a drink?

Is there a sample menu you can look at?

Are you allowed to keep food in your room?

Hot and cold options every day?

Locally sourced?

Is food prepared on the premises?

Social activities in the care home



Do they have a designated Activity Coodinator?

Do they invite outside entertainers?

Are residents encouraged to stay active and do as much as they can for themselves?

Would you feel comfortable socialising in the home’s common areas?

Are there plenty of residents you feel you could socialise with?

Does the home have its own pets?

Daily considerations when selecting a care home



Can residents choose their daily routine, such as when they get up, go to bed, have meals or go out?

Can residents choose which clothes to wear?

Can residents bring their own furniture and belongings and is there enough space in the bedroom to put them?

Would it be possible to change rooms at a later date?

Are there safes or locked drawers in the bedrooms?

Can residents choose whether they have a bath or shower and how often?

Care Home Visitor Rules



Are they completely flexible on visiting times or numbers of visitors?

Can visitors stay overnight?

Are young children welcome?

Where can residents spend time with visitors?

Care Home Fees



Can you see a copy of the home’s contract and terms and conditions?

Is it clear how the fees are structured and calculated?

Can you stay for a trial period?

The most important part of an Encore home is its residents. Our purpose at Encore is to enrich the lives of residents by offering a place of safety, care and companionship.

If you would like to speak with someone about our care homes, visit our contact page to get in touch.

Download and take with you

We’ve created a handy reference sheet for you to download, keep and print out to take with you when you’re in the visiting stage of your Care Home selection journey. Whether you’re looking at one of our homes, or somewhere else – we hope these prompts will help aid you in making the best choice.