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Finding the perfect care home suitable for your cherished loved one can be a difficult task. If this is something you have never done before you may find it difficult to know the steps to take when finding the perfect care home for your loved one.

A report by Ipsos MORI, which interviewed people who had made the decision to move their loved one into a care home, found that they felt there was limited engagement with the details of the ‘system’ and that there was a perceived lack of information and support when choosing a care home.

At Hill Care, we have simplified this process to provide more information and support for you with 10 steps to take when finding the care home.

1. Take your time

Finding out that your loved one may require 24-hour care, is a lot of information to take in. Take some time for yourself & to process the information. Ipsos MORI, found that the main reason people move into a care home is from a trigger event that may have happened such as a fall, that forced a family to make a decision about care. So, this is probably all very overwhelming for you and your family to cope with so take a bit of time to process everything you have found out.

2. Understand the care your loved one requires

During this process, someone will assess your loved one to determine what category of care they require. Your loved one may be assessed by social services, hospital staff, GP or by an MDT (Multi-Disciplinary team). Depending on if your loved one is currently in hospital or at home will depend on who assess’ your loved one and it will also depend on the reasons to why your loved one require cares.

The category of care can vary depending your loved ones needs, after finding out this information from this assessment this will then allow you to find a suitable care home.

The category of care can vary from

  • Residential
  • Dementia Residential
  • Dementia Nursing
  • General Nursing

At this stage you will also be able to find out if your loved one requires respite or a permanent placement in a care home. All care homes can vary on what needs they are able to meet so by understanding the category of care your loved one requires it will allow you to know exactly what care home you will need to be looking for.

3. Funding for the care home

Before researching & visiting homes, it is important to be aware of how the care home will be funded. Care Homes can be funded in a few different ways which really varies.

  • Publicly Funded – This funding is when either a public sector will fund the care for your loved one. This will either be done through CHC Funding (also known as NHS) or by the Local Authority.
  • Self- Funded – This will be when your loved one will fund their care themselves.
  • Mixed funding – This is when it’s a mixture of both either CHC or Local Authority and your loved one funding this.

If your loved one is publicly funded there may also be a Top-Up price which is based on a weekly basis which will be paid by your loved one.

To find out more information on how the funding for care is determined visit Age UK

By knowing the funding for the home, this will speed up the process from initial enquiry to move in, as it will allow for the care home to contact the relevant people for the contracts & funding information.

4. Have contact with your loved one’s social worker or care manager

During this process, your loved one will be assigned either a social worker or a care manager, they will be there for you to support you and give advice on the whole process. They will be there for you during the whole process, including when your loved one is living in the care home. They will coordinate and liaise with the care home manager to make the arrangements such as; funding, contracts & move in.

The social worker or care manager will also have a list of all of the homes within your chosen area that are able to provide the care your loved one requires. They will pass this information to you to make the process a little bit easier during this time and to help you find the perfect care home.

5. Speak to your loved one

Finding a care home can be challenging to do by yourself so speaking to your loved one about their move may be able to help you. Speaking to them to find out what they would like may make them feel at ease during the move and will then give you more ideas of what the perfect care home is to your loved one. Sometimes of course that may not always possible, but if in the situation it is we would highly recommend gaining an understanding of what they would like in a home. This may be a certain location, the activities or the size of the bedroom. By having them involved in the process it will take the pressure of yourself and put your mind at ease a little.

6. Where should I look when finding a care home?

When finding a care home, doing a simple search on Google can lead you to a range of care homes within your area. Have a little look on each website to see what the cares home has to offer. Most care providers will have a section with recent news which you can get a really good idea of what has been happening within the home. Have a look at Hill Care’s recent news here. is a really useful website to look at when you are trying to find a few different homes to potentially go and see. Rather than searching throughout google, allows you to search all in one place. When visiting the website if you type in ‘care home’ and the location you are looking for it will bring up a list of all the care homes within your chosen location. Alongside this, is almost considered to be like a trip advisor but for care homes. Like TripAdvisor, allows you to read reviews from people who have used the service. On this website, you will be able to see a wide range of supporting information for each individual home.

The Care Quality Commission also known as CQC are the regulators for health and social care within England, they monitor, inspect and regulate all of the health services within England and create an inspection report of their findings. With these findings they are then able to provide a rating of either

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires Improvement
  • Inadequate

Having a look at the CQC Report will be able to give you a better idea of the home, this will also give you a chance when you visit the home to ask any questions on improvements that may be needed from the home and what have they done or how are they trying to improve this.

7. Check the care home has availability

After finding a few care homes, researching further, knowing the category of care and the funding, we recommend making initial contact with your chosen homes to see if these homes do have availability and are able to meet your loved ones needs.

As this is a busy time for yourself, by doing this you will be able to whittle down further before you arrange viewing the homes. By making the contact prior to viewing the home to find this out it will make sure you are using all of your time you have to spend longer at the care homes that do have the availability.

Contact a Hill Care Home in your area and see if they have availability

8. Arrange to visit the home

After speaking to the home to see if they have availability for the care required, arrange to visit the home. Visiting the home is probably one of the most important steps. This gives you a chance to get a real feel for the home and be able to see where your loved one will be spending their time.

We have a checklist which can be found here for questions to ask when looking around the home. This checklist can make it easier for you, as seeing a few in one day can be daunting and a lot of information to take in at once. By using this check list, it will be able to make you see which care home really stands out for you which will make your decision-making process much easier.

Hill Care offer show rounds for all of our homes and we can be flexible to the times and days that suits you – Arrange a visit with a Hill Care home today.

9. Assessment by the care home

When you have found the perfect care home and ticked off everything above, the care home will then arrange an assessment. This assessment is a time when either managers, registered nurses or senior care assistants from the care home will visit your loved one to also assess them.

This is just a chance for them to meet your loved one and your family, get to know everyone, discover more about their needs and to confirm all the details they have initially received.

When this assessment has been done they will be able to make a decision on if they feel they can meet your loved ones needs based on the dependency of their other resident. Either the home or your social worker/care manager will then be in touch with yourself afterwards to let you know if they are able to move into the care home.

10. Move in

Finally… It may have felt like a long journey to finding a care home but it is now move in day! The move in day is always a busy day making sure your loved one has everything they will need to settle into their new perfect care home. This process from enquiry through to move in can vary on time, but at Hill Care we aim to have this done in around two weeks’ time.

Hill care have 36 care homes in England which offer permanent, respite, dementia nursing, general nursing and residential care. Find a Hill Care Home today.

Our home managers and staff are more than happy to answer any question that you may have about the home so please feel free to get in touch

For further support please visit NHS or Age UK