What to Look For (and Ask!) on Your Care Home Visit

 Choosing a care home for a loved one is a significant decision. Visiting potential homes can bring up a mix of emotions.

Here at Ashberry Care Homes, we understand that it can be overwhelming, so we’ve created this guide to help you make the most of your visit and feel confident in your choice.

1. Before You Go: Prepare and Plan

  • Make a list of questions: Write down everything you want to know about the care home. Consider your loved one’s specific needs and preferences. Are there certain activities they enjoy? Do they have any dietary restrictions? What level of care do they require?
  • Involve your loved one: If possible, include your loved one in the decision-making process. Their input is invaluable, and visiting the care home together can help ease any anxieties.
  • Research all the care homes you plan on visiting: Look at their website, read reviews and testimonials, and gather any information you can beforehand. This will help you form initial impressions and tailor your questions.

2. During Your Visit: Observe and Engage

  • Pay attention to the atmosphere: Does the care home feel warm and welcoming? Are the staff friendly and attentive to residents? Is there a sense of community and engagement?
  • Observe the residents: Do they seem happy and well-cared for? Are they participating in activities? Do they interact with staff and each other?
  • Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, and ask different people and staff! Here are some key areas to cover:

Care and Support

  • What types of care services do you offer and what is entailed in that care (e.g, personal care, dementia care, palliative care)?
  • How do you assess and create personalised care plans for residents?
  • How do you handle changes in a resident’s care needs?
  • What is the staff-to-resident ratio, and what are the staff’s qualifications?
  • How do you communicate with families about their loved one’s care?

Daily Life and Activities

  • What is a typical daily routine for residents?
  • What activities and social events are available?
  • Are there opportunities for residents to pursue hobbies and interests?
  • How are meals prepared, and can you accommodate dietary restrictions?
  • Can residents personalise their living spaces?

Health and Safety

  • How do you manage residents’ medications?
  • How do you handle medical emergencies?
  • What safety measures are in place to prevent falls and accidents?
  • What infection control protocols do you follow?

Costs and Contracts

  • What are the costs for different levels of care?
  • What is included in the fees, and what are the additional costs?
  • Can you provide a sample contract for review?
  • What is your policy on fee increases?
  • Tour the facilities: Take a thorough tour of the care home, including common areas, bedrooms, dining rooms, and any outdoor spaces. Note the cleanliness, safety features, and overall condition of the home. Consider features such as, does your loved one really need an en-suite bathroom?
  • Meet the staff: Introduce yourself to the staff and ask about their experience and qualifications. Understand their approach to care and how they interact with residents.
  • Trust your instincts: If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it. Your gut feeling is important and can provide valuable insights. An example could be, do you feel like you are being sold to as you visit? Or is the home and staff authentic. 

3. After Your Visit: Reflect and Follow Up

  • Discuss with your loved one and family: Talk about your impressions of the care home and compare it to others you’ve visited. Consider everyone’s opinions and concerns.
  • Review the information you gathered: Go through your notes and any materials you received from the care home. Here at Ashberry Care Homes, we offer simple one-pager factsheets for each of our homes as an example.
  • Contact the care home with follow-up questions: Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any further questions or need clarification on anything.
  • Take your time: Choosing a care home is a big decision. Don’t feel pressured to rush into anything. Take the time you need to weigh your options and feel confident in your choice.

Remember, at Ashberry Care Homes, we are here to help. If you have any questions or would like to discuss care options for your loved one, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We understand this journey can be challenging, and we’re committed to providing compassionate support and guidance every step of the way. Contact us today if you need help starting the care journey for you or a loved one.