Choosing a care home: your comprehensive checklist

Posted on 28 May 2019

If it’s something you’ve never done before, choosing the right care home for your loved one can be a daunting experience. From the location to funding, there’s a lot to consider before you make a final decision.

To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive checklist featuring the questions you should be asking and some key points to look for:

1.Determine the type of care home your loved one will need

Residential, nursing, respite – these are some of the most popular types of care homes in the UK. However, not all of them will be the best fit for your loved one; which is why you should carefully consider the level of care your family member needs, to help you carry out a more effective search.

This Which? Guide can help you find care homes in your area which offer the level of care you require.

2.Narrow down your list

Once you’ve determined the best type of care home for your loved one, you can then set about creating a list of your top choices. We’d aim for no more than 10, which you can then thoroughly research before arranging a visit.

3.Read the care home inspection reports

CQC reports for care homes are widely available and can give you a valuable insight into how well a care home is performing in all aspects from care to management.

Other things to look out for in CQC reports include:

  • Points raised by inspectors – have these been addressed or are they reoccurring?
  • High staff turnover – this could indicate unsettled staff, which may jeopardise the standard of care
  • How frequent are the inspections? If they occur on a very regular basis, this could be a sign of problems

4.Ask friends for recommendations

If you know someone who has had to arrange care for a loved one already, this can massively help you in your search. Recommendations make the process a lot easier, and could even provide your loved one with a familiar face at their new home!

5.Contact suitable care homes

Before arranging a visit, contact the care homes on your shortlist to talk specifics first. Here are some questions you may want to ask before arranging a visit:

  • What specialist care is offered to suit my loved ones needs?
  • What are the bedrooms like?
  • What’s included in the fees and what are ‘extras’?
  • What activities are on offer?
  • What facilities are there?
  • What is the staff to residents ratio?

This will help you narrow down your list and decide which ones are worth visiting.

6.Visit your top choices

A visit is vital to determine whether a care home is suitable for your loved one.

If possible, take along your loved one so that they can also get a good impression of the home and whether it’s somewhere they could see themselves living. If this isn’t possible, go with another family member or friend and ask if you can arrange a home visit so that the staff can meet your loved one before making a final decision.

Once again, it’s a good idea to go along with an agenda/checklist and be ready to ask plenty of questions.

7.Consider arranging a trial stay before making a final choice

Most care homes will happily offer your loved one the chance to trial a stay at their home before fully moving in. This is an excellent last step before proceeding with a final decision.

If you’re considering moving a loved one into Oaklands and would like to ask us some questions about the care we offer, please contact us at or call us on 02381845759.