Finding the Right Care Home for Your Loved One

We know that facing the need for a care home for your loved one can be overwhelming.  According to a 2022 report by Carers UK, 73% of carers reported feeling stressed and anxious during their search for a care home.  

This guide is here to help.  We’ll walk you through a step-by-step process to find a suitable care home for your loved one, understand the different levels of care available, and ensure you feel confident making this important decision for your loved one’s well-being.

1. Understanding Your Loved One’s Needs

The first step in finding the right care home is to get a clear picture of your loved one’s current and potential future needs. 

This will help you identify the most appropriate level of care and ensure the chosen home or service can accommodate your loved one’s specific requirements. Here are some key areas to consider:

  1. Assessing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): These are basic tasks essential for independent living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring (moving around), and continence (managing bathroom needs).  Consider your loved one’s level of independence in each of these areas.
  1. Evaluating Medical Needs and Conditions: Does your loved one have any existing medical conditions that require ongoing monitoring or specialised care?  Make a list of their current medications and any specific needs related to their health.
  1. Considering Cognitive Abilities and Memory: Is there any concern about memory loss or cognitive decline?  Understanding your loved one’s cognitive abilities will help determine if a care home specialising in dementia care may be necessary.

2. Exploring Care Home Options

Now that you have a better understanding of your loved one’s needs, it’s time to explore the various care home options available. Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Determining the Level of Care Needed:  Care homes offer a range of services, from independent living with minimal support to skilled nursing care for individuals requiring 24/7 assistance. 

Consider the level of support your loved one needs to determine the most suitable care category (e.g., independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care).

  • Researching Care Homes in Your Area:  Once you know the level of care needed, you can start researching potential care homes and settings. Here are some resources to help:
  1. Online Resources:
  • Websites of government agencies like the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which regulates care homes in England.
  • Online care home directories that allow you to search by location and filter based on specific criteria.
  1. Recommendations from Friends, Family, and Healthcare Providers:
  • Talk to your network for recommendations on reputable care homes in your area. Your loved one’s doctor or social worker may also be able to provide valuable insights.
  1. Consider Reputable Care Home Providers:
  • If you have a preferred location, you can research care home providers operating in that area. For instance, here at Ashberry Care Homes, we operate 7 high-quality care homes across Wales, Hereford, Surrey, Wolverhampton and Cheshire, offering a range of care services to suit various needs. 

3. Shortlisting and Scheduling Visits

Once you’ve identified a few promising care homes, it’s time to narrow down your options and schedule visits. Here’s how to approach this step:

  1. Setting Priorities and Preferences: Consider what’s most important to you and your loved one. This might include factors like location, cost, amenities (e.g., gardens, communal spaces), size of the home, and the care home’s philosophy.
  1. Contacting Shortlisted Care Homes and Scheduling Visits: Contact your shortlisted care homes and inquire about scheduling a visit. It’s best to schedule visits during mealtimes and resident activities to get a feel for the atmosphere. Ideally you want to meet with the home manager and be able to talk to other staff members.

4. Preparing for Care Home Visits

Before your visits, take some time to prepare questions to ask the care home staff.  Here are some key areas to consider

Questions to Ask Staff about Care and Services:

  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio?
  • What qualifications and experience do your care staff have?
  • How do you personalise care plans to meet individual needs?
  • What types of activities do you offer?
  • How do you ensure the safety and security of residents?
  • How do you communicate with families about their loved one’s well-being?
  • What are the costs involved, and what is included in the fees?

What to Observe During Your Visit:

  • Pay attention to the overall atmosphere of the care home. Is it clean, bright, and inviting?
  • Observe how staff interact with residents. Does the interaction seem kind, respectful, and patient?
  • Take note of the residents themselves. Do they appear happy, engaged, and well-cared for?
  • Look at the amenities and facilities offered by the care home. Do they meet your loved one’s needs and preferences? 

5. Making an Informed Decision

After visiting several care homes, it’s time to evaluate your findings and make a decision. Here’s how to approach this final step:

  • Evaluating Your Findings from Each Care Home: Consider all the information you gathered during your visits. Review your notes and any questions you may have jotted down.

    Many care homes will provide key facts sheets for easy comparison during family discussions
  • Discussing Your Options with Your Loved One and Family: Talk openly and honestly with your loved one about the care homes you visited.

    Involve other family members in the decision-making process as well. Consider your loved one’s preferences and ensure they feel comfortable and heard throughout the process. 

Remember, finding the right care home for your loved one is an important decision. 

Take your time, do your research, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. 

By following these steps, you can feel confident choosing a care home that provides a safe, supportive, and nurturing environment for your loved one.

Our friendly team here at Ashberry Care Homes is always available to answer your questions during this process. Enquire Today