How to choose a care home?

We get it, learning how to choose a care home is tough.Young woman helping an older man choose a care home on a computer

The decision to move your loved one into a care home is not one that is made lightly. Leaving the home that you dearly wished to remain in forever, with all it’s memories and associations of good times gone by is devastating. Unfortunately for most families, the emotional choice to move your relative into a care home happens very quickly, with 78% care home transitions occurring following a hospitalisation (Castle, 2003). This lack of time to prepare can lead to heightened levels of stress and feelings of guilt in family members, as they don’t always feel confident in the decision that has been made (Merla et al., 2018).

Luckily, you are not alone and there are loads of really helpful resources to help you make this decision. In this blog, I will share with you our best advice for you to follow when learning how to choose a care home, to hopefully make moving your loved one into a care home a little bit easier.

Do your research

However you came to the tough decision that your loved one needed to move into a care home, your first instinct was probably to jump onto google and type ‘How to choose a care home’ into the search bar. And that’s when the panic starts to set in. The wall of information that you are faced with can be daunting but there are a few websites that you should be looking out for, for the best and most relevant information about care homes.

1. is the UK’s largest care home review website, with over 16,000 care homes in their directory. The website allows you to tailor your search for care homes through a wide variety of filters, including types of care available, location, CQC rating, awards won, and facilities on offer. You are also able to add care homes to a shortlist, read reviews of the care home and compare care providers.

2. Autumna

You will recognise autumna through their vibrant orange theme. They pride themselves on being the most detailed online directory of later life care providers in the UK. As well as their detailed database of over 26,000 care homes, retirement living facilities, and home care providers, they also offer a free advice helpline that you can call for personalised advice.

3. Trusted Care

Designed with ease of use in mind, has been purpose built to encourage informed choices about care for older people, by providing those who are looking for a care provider with all of the best information available about services in their area. Their platform covers care providers of all types, including nursing homes, residential care homes, home care services and live-in care providers. The platform is super easy to use, and they also have a phone service that you can for more personalised advice.


Hopefully, once you’ve been through these websites you will have a better understanding of the care providers in your area and how they begin to compare to other homes and services available in your budget. If you require advice on how care funding works, we recommend looking at the Care Funding Guidance Charity, Age UK, or the Alzheimer’s Society.

Please note that many care providers will have their own websites, which often offer you more information and pictures about the facilities, home managers and team members. If you’re interested in looking at the care homes that Dovehaven has available near you, please click here. 

Visit the care homes

Older woman and care assistant playing bingo in a carehomeThis may seem obvious, but you definitely should be visiting as many care homes as you can before committing to any particular one. Making sure that your loved one is going to be well looked after in a care home is as much about the type of care that the home can provide, as it is about how much your relative is going to fit in to that home’s environment.

Take us as an example; despite all of our homes being part of the Dovehaven group, no two of our care homes are the same. Even within our homes that offer the same type of elderly care, e.g. dementia nursing, they have very different routines, and types of activities that are on offer for residents to enjoy.

As well as general activities and routines in the homes, many care homes offer a person centred care method which aims to improve the lived experiences residents whilst they stay in any particular home. This person centred care involves an individual care plan for every resident and tailors routines, meals and activities around their needs and own choices. This can be things such as the types of events and parties a home hosts, the games and activities that are on offer, and whether or not the other residents like a drink or two in the evenings.

You know your loved one best, and it is only by visiting a variety of homes and seeing them in action that you will be able to determine whether or not they will be happy, comfortable, and relaxed in a particular home.


If you’d like to visit any of Dovehaven’s homes, please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Our fantastic care teams are always happy to show you around.

Try a respite stay

If after visiting a care home, you think it might be appropriate for your loved one and their needs but you’re still not wanting to put all your eggs in one basket, then why not try a respite stay. Many homes offer respite care, which gives residents the chance to stay temporarily and essentially ‘try before you buy’.

Respite care offers both residents and families a huge range of benefits. Importantly, respite stays can take a little bit of that pressure off the decision to choose a care home quickly. Families can transition their loved ones from hospital or home, into a care home that offers respite stays, as an intermediate option whilst a more permanent solution is worked out. It is often possible for residents to decide to stay in the home where respite care was offered, depending of suitability and availability.

If you’re interested in respite care at Dovehaven, please get in touch at and one of our helpful team members will be happy to talk you through your options and our availability.


Choosing a care home is not an easy decision, and unfortunately it is often the case that families feel rushed and guilty for making decisions due to a lack of information. We hope that this advice on how to choose a care home will give you some piece of mind that you’re on the right track when making this tough decision for your loved one.

If you require more information about any of the services that Dovehaven provide in any of our care homes, please get in touch here, email us at or give us a call during working hours on 01704 546 177

Forever, Together: Caring for Couples this Christmas

At Dovehaven, we know that every resident is different and we pride ourselves on our ability to cater for a diverse range of care needs. For couples, the decision is move your partner into a care home is not one that is made lightly. Fortunately, at the Brunswick Care Home in Southport, we’re proud to offer specially tailored care packages for couples who wish to stay forever, together.

An elderly couple enjoying residential care together in a care home, talking to a nurse

Couples Care

Moving into a care home together is a great choice for couples, and offers residents living together a range of benefits. As well as continuing to enjoy each others company, couples can participate in activities and dine together.

Living in a care home together can give you peace of mind that your loved one is being looked after correctly. You both will get to know the staff and the environment, so in the event that either of your  health conditions change, the other will already be in a familiar and supportive environment.

As one of Dovehaven’s legacy homes, the Brunswick Care Home is an impressive building. Located on Lord Street in Southport, The Brunswick offers couples a range of spacious bedrooms, with the choice of a double or twin bed set ups.

A large and grand bedroom in a care home with a double bed, vanity desk and pair of arm chairs, perfect for a couple.As residents at the Brunswick, you both will be able to benefit from our tailored and personalised care packages, allowing you and your partner to stay together even if you require different types of care.

As a residential care home, the care team at the Brunswick can provide couples with support with everyday task such as personal care, mobility, medication administration, meals and housekeeping. This frees up couples to enjoy more time together, doing the activities that you both love doing.

Once moved into the Brunswick, couples can be sure that their life together can remain as it always has. Routines can continue, and most importantly independence and all personal choices will remain a priority.

Pricing for the Brunswick starts from £875 per person per week

Interested in Couples Care? Make an enquiry now.

The grand central staircase in the Brunswick care home in southport.

About the Brunswick

Located on historic Lord Street in Southport, this residential care home offers premium comfort and care to residents, including couples together, in the most beautiful of buildings.

The Brunswick is not like other care homes, it was designed and built during Southport’s Victorian heyday when the grandeur of buildings in the town of Southport knew no bounds. Buildings had large rooms with high ceilings and were finished to standards rarely seen today. This is a home where no expense has been spared.

Residents are able to be as independent as they wish. Ideally located close to shops, cafes bars and restaurants our residents enjoy quick, easy level access to Lord Street. Car parking is also available at the front of the home for residents and visitors alike.

Impressed by the Brunswick Care Home? Get in touch today.

Meet the team

Led by Kelly Mortimer, a Home Manager with a passion for excellent standards of resident care and hospitality, the team at The Brunswick deliver the best of care and service. There to meet every resident need, they are a team who have all of the skills and personal qualities required to keep our residents happy.

The Chef leads the kitchen team and desires to deliver the very best menu to meet our residents expectations, ensuring our residents receive their meals which are seasonal and beautifully cooked.

The whole team at The Brunswick are dedicated to ensuring that the home delivers care of an excellent standard and that all of the residents wishes and needs are met.

Want to arrange to visit the Brunswick and meet the team? Call us on 01704 535 786 or email 

The large and impressive dining hall at the Brunswick Care Home in Southport, with high ceilings, red velvet curtains and four chandeliers


Our large beautiful dining room is a stand out feature of our home, a place where it is a pleasure to dine for every meal.

The grandeur of the dining room in The Brunswick is reminiscent of the days when the home was an imposing hotel on historic Lord Street. Tables are still beautifully set however, the dining room is designed with our residents in mind, ensuring they feel very much ‘at home’.

Our residents and visitors receive the very best of hospitality service from our team of hosts and hostesses. Visitors are assured of a warm welcome and are always offered refreshments, whatever the time of day or night.

For regular updates about the service we provide across the Dovehaven network, follow us on Instagram or Facebook.

Want a virtual tour of The Brunswick Care Home?


Get in Touch

If you look what you’ve seen and are interested in Couples Care at the Brunswick Care Home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly and welcoming team are ready to offer you personalised advice on care requirement for you and your loved one.

Please email us

Call us 01704 535 786

Not in the mood to call? Submit a written enquiry here.

Sharing the birthday joy: Dovehaven commemorates 40th birthday with 40 Acts of Kindness

Dovehaven Care Homes has carried out 40 Acts of Kindness to commemorate 40 years of care excellence. Across our network of 21 Care Homes around the North West of England, the Dovehaven team have carried out 40 random acts of kindness to celebrate 40 years of the business and say thank you to all the local communities and businesses who have helped us along the way.

Throughout October, the care staff and residents in Dovehaven Care Homes have been carrying out special acts of kindness, that have then been recorded on social media. We set out to perform 40 Acts of Kindness, but our team have exceeded expectations with the final ‘Kindness Counter’ recording 46 acts of kindness carried out throughout the month.

The acts of kindness came in all shapes and sizes and were carried out by both team members, senior leaders and residents. Some acts of kindness included collecting hampers for local charities and food banks, doing a litter pick, donating clothes to homeless shelters, and gifting chocolates and flowers to friends and relatives that visited the homes.

Older man holding a box of chocolates he shared as one of the 40 acts of kindness staff from Dovehaven head office delivering hampers to local charities as one of the 40 acts of kindness A group of care staff holding flowers they were gifted as one of the 40 acts of kindness

As well as acts of kindness, we’ve hosted a range of exciting events during their birthday celebration month. Residents and staff were invited every Friday during October to join a special video call, where events such as birthday bingo and a virtual cocktail party took place.

We opened our first care home, Dovehaven Residential Home in 1983 and since then the business has grown to more than 20 Care Homes around the North West. We offer a wide variety of elderly care including dementia, residential, and complex health care.

Dovehaven’s birthday celebrations come at a time of transformation and growth for the company. New home acquisitions will see us grow even further in the coming months.

For more information about Dovehaven, including current career opportunities, visit

Sip, Sip, Hurray! Dovehaven’s virtual cocktail party

Whoever said Care homes are no fun, clearly hasn’t been to a Dovehaven virtual cocktail party! On Friday afternoon, we hosted the 3rd of Dovehaven’s big birthday celebrations. Residents, members of the care team and support staff from head office met online via video call to throw a virtual cocktail party. And in true Dovehaven fashion, it was a hoot!

A dovehaven activity coordinator showcasing their extravagant cocktail bar ready for the dovehaven virtual birthday cocktail party.A display of cocktail glasses, fruit and alcohol bottles ready for the Dovehaven virtual birthday cocktail partyA display of cocktail glasses, fruit and alcohol bottles ready for the Dovehaven virtual birthday cocktail party









Each home had been asked to come prepared with one original cocktail or mocktail that embodied the Dovehaven spirit. And oh boy did our team get involved with this one! An emphasis on spirit must be heavily stressed here. The team and residents from the twelve homes that took part in the call, had all prepared at least 2 cocktails and mocktails each. Many of the homes had even put together cocktail displays, with extravagant designs, unique posters and decorations.


For a variety of different reasons some of our care homes have a zero-alcohol policy and in this case the teams were tasked to create delicious mocktails for their residents. However, many of our homes and our residents are not afraid of a little tipple now and again, and in these cases the spirits were high on Friday. As the name suggests, ‘The Brunswick Floor Diver’ which contained vodka, Bacardi and sparkling wine, was a particularly potent brew. The team at the Brunswick Care Home had reassured the judges that this cocktail had been thoroughly tested and enjoyed by many of the residents throughout the week.



Alcohol content was not the only measure of success for the cocktails on Friday. The judges were also giving out points for theatricality and extravagance. On the video call, we saw some great contributions to this category from the likes of Hope House, with their Halloween themed birthday cocktail called ‘The Alchemist’ which was served bubbling and erupting with fog. Another honourable mention came from Dovehaven Lodge, who had fully committed to the birthday theme, completing their cocktail with a lit candle!


Dietary requirements

A special mention must be made to the team at Pennine View. Not only did they make a separate cocktail and mocktail for residents to enjoy. But they went one step further, to ensure that their cocktail was not only delicious, but also nutritious. Pennine’s Blue Banana cocktail was fortified with double cream for added calories. This is especially important for residents with dietary requirements that mean they need to consume more calorific foods in their meals and drinks. Everybody was so touched to hear that the team at Pennine had not only considered fun and flavour in their cocktail, but also the specific needs of their residents.

Read more about how we care for residents with specialist health care requirements


After a tough round of deliberation, the softies in the corporate development team couldn’t help but give all participating homes an award each for their fantastic effort and real commitment to make this week’s party something really special for our residents.

The judges scores are in:

Brooklands Winners of the ‘Visual Merchandising Award’ what an excellent display of wonderful cocktails. We loved the care taken to present your drinks.

Church View Winners of the ‘Dovehaven Recognition Award’ for the ‘Gilberts Gamble Tequila rose’ and the ‘Dodgy Damo’

Marsh House Winners of the ‘Sugar Rush Award’ you can never have too much sugar!

Pennine View Winners of the ‘Inclusivity Award’ making sure there was a cocktail for everyone in the home, and a few calories extra!

Hope House Winners of the ‘Wow factor Award’ the Hope House Alchemy had to be seen to be believed

Paradise House Winners of ‘Spirit of the Home Award’ everyone has tried it and everyone has loved it!!

The Brunswick Winners of the ‘Potency Award’ nothing stronger being served on Lord Street

Dean Wood Manor Winners of the ‘Most Considered Cocktail’ Award – we loved the addition of ‘kindness’ to your cocktail!

Westcliffe Winners of the ‘Upmarket Award’ served from a drinks trolley and looked was definitely ‘shaken not stirred’.

Dovehaven Lodge Winners of the ‘Celebratory Award, thanks for recognising the 40th birthday, even with a candle on the top!

Millbrook Winners of the ‘Style’ Award served by a cocktail waiter who looks fresh out of Raffles!

Maple Lodge Winners of the ‘Disconnected but there in Spirit Award’


Thank you to all of the residents and care team for taking part in Dovehaven’s big birthday virtual cocktail party. It was so wonderful to see everybody enjoying themselves. The cocktails and mocktails certainly went down a treat with everybody!

For more information about our care homes and the amazing care that we provide, please visit


Dovehaven appoints Emily O’Keefe as group people director

Emily O'Keefe as new group people director

Leading care provider, Dovehaven Care Homes, based in the North West of England has appointed Emily O’Keefe as their new group people director.

O’Keefe has previously held senior people and HR roles in organisations such as Certas Energy, Novartis and United Utilities.

Her appointment comes at a time of transformation and growth for the Dovehaven Group. Now owning 22 care homes across Merseyside and Lancashire, new home acquisitions will see the business grow further in the coming months.

Dovehaven CEO, Jenny Davies said: “To have somebody of Emily’s experience and calibre join Dovehaven is fantastic. Emily brings a wealth of experience in HR and we are all extremely excited for Emily to join us at this pivotal time in Dovehaven’s journey.

“Emily will work very closely with myself, the Board and the rest of the Executive team in our ambition for Dovehaven to become the leading care organisation in the North West.”

Emily O’Keefe added: “I am very pleased to be able to join the Dovehaven Group at such an exciting time in their journey of growth and transformation. I have a real passion for equality and fairness in the workplace as well as supporting the business in shaping a learning and development agenda that helps support the business as it evolves.

I am committed to grow and develop the Dovehaven Group as sustainable employer and business with new and existing people, cultures and ways of working.”

Outside of work enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Dovehaven Care Homes is a leading elderly care provider based in Southport, Merseyside, with almost 1000 residents in our care across more than 20 Care Homes in the North West of England.

For more information about Dovehaven, including current career opportunities, visit: