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. Carehome.co.uk

Carehome.co.uk 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, TrustedCare.co.uk 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 hello@dovehavencarehomes.co.uk 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 hello@dovehavencarehomes.co.uk or give us a call during working hours on 01704 546 177