News & Advice

Care Quest likes to keep ahead of all the latest health care news and provides current and upto date information and links to sites that might interest you

Top tips on choosing the right care home


Choosing the right care home can be a daunting process, especially when it’s your first experience finding one. At Care Quest, we want to help you find care providers that ensure your loved ones receive the highest standards of care.


With so many different care homes to chose from, you could soon become overwhelmed. This post highlights the different types of care available, and our top tips on choosing the right home.

What kind of care is available?

With so many different types of care available, it can be hard to find the right match for your loved one. Below we’ve outlined some of the different types of care that are on offer.


Sheltered accommodation

Sheltered accommodation is one option available should your elderly relative need a lower level of care. Sheltered accommodation is a collection of units, with shared communal facilities and a care home warden or manager.

Sheltered accommodation is completely self-contained living, so your loved one still holds a certain level of independence whilst in the home. They regularly host social events so all residents can get together and socialise.

Sheltered accommodation is one of the most affordable care options, but still gives each resident independence and sociable surroundings.

Residential care homes

Residential care homes are another option available should your elderly relative need a moderate level of care. Housed with a smaller group of seniors, residents at residential care homes benefit from a family-like setting.

Residents also benefit from food services, and assistance with everyday living. For some homes, this includes housekeeping and laundry, medication management, social events and activities, and transport to doctor’s appointments should they be needed.

A placement at a residential care home can be slightly more expensive compared to sheltered accommodation. However, it does come with more supervision and medical care

Nursing care homes

One of the most complete care options, a nursing care home is most suitable for those who have higher care needs.

At a nursing home, your elderly relative will have access to 24/7 aid and supervision from nursing staff and medical professionals.

Communal areas are still available, and social events are regularly organised so residents can get together and enjoy games, quizzes and hosted talks.

Nursing care homes are one of the most expensive options available, but a residency comes with round-the-clock supervision and health care.

Part or full-time carers

Another option should your elderly relative not want to relocate from their family home is to hire a live in carer. Dependent on your relatives’ specific needs and requirements, these live in carers can either be part or full-time.

Most agencies will comprehensively screen their care providers before any placements are made, and many have their own individual skills and experiences.

Should your chosen care provider not be able to make it to your relatives house one day, most agencies will have a bank of qualified back-ups who can take their place.


Our Top Tips on Choosing a Care Home

Tip #1 - Get a care needs assessment

A care needs assessment is undertaken by the local authority to establish the level of care your relative needs. If you are looking to help support your elderly relative, you can request a care needs assessment yourself, but you must get their consent beforehand.

Tip #2 - Ask friends and family for recommendations

Asking friends or families for their recommendations is one of the best ways to find the right care home. Not only do you get an outsider’s perspective, they also have their relatives’ best interests at heart.

Tip #3 - Check care home inspection reports

The Care Quality Commission have a bank of reports available based on their own inspections of care homes throughout the UK.

They rate each care home from Outstanding to Inadequate, and so far have registered over 14,000 care homes on their system. They rate all aspects of service care homes provide, including the safety, leadership and levels of care given by employees.

Tip #4 – Always visit the care home

Before you make any decision, you need to visit the care home to see what facilities they provide to their residents. If you want to arrange a visit, then get in touch with the main office for the care home, and explain your requirements to them.

When you do visit, take note of everything that will help you make your decision. These notes can include:

  • Location and accessibility – can you or your family get there easily, is there sufficient parking available?
  • First impressions – is the building well maintained, are there communal gardens, does the building feel warm and inviting?
  • The staff – are they welcoming, is their a senior management position on duty at all times?
  • What social activities are there, and how often do they happen?
  • What are the visiting arrangements and times?

These are just some of the aspects you need to consider when choosing a care home. Age UK have compiled a fully printable PDF guide you can download and use when visiting care, you’ll find the PDF here.

Tip #5 – Create a shortlist of potential care homes

Once you’ve visited the care homes you’ve been considering, then it’s time to narrow down your choices. Create a shortlist of care homes, and discuss with your family the pros and cons of each.

This helps you to identify the care home that is going to provide your relative with the best standard of care and living possible. You’ll also know that when the time to move comes, they’ll be happy and well looked after.


Hopefully you’ve found our top tips useful, and they’ve helped make your choice of care home a little bit easier.

What do you think? What have been your experiences when choosing a care home? We’d love to hear your thoughts, and you can get in touch with us on Facebook here, or on Twitter here.

@ Care Quest