The Care Home Lottery; How to Make Sure You’re Getting the Best Care


As people continue to live longer, healthier lives, many are starting to think about the possibility that they may need to, one day, consider their care options. Choosing residential care or supported living can help you to live life to the full, enjoying every moment free from the increasing burden of everyday tasks. By talking about your future care options, you can make sure that you stay in control of your situation; discussing your preferences with those around you will help ensure that everyone is aware of your choices.

Best CareSo how can you make sure that the care home you choose is the best for you? With such a vast difference in care quality throughout the UK, it is important that you and your loved ones know what to look for.  Location is key; you may wish to remain near a particular area that is familiar to you, or that is easily accessible to friends and family.  You can see how the care in your area ranks in both care quality and cost on Trusted Care’s interactive map, which is regularly updated according to industry-regulator’s ratings.

Just because your county ranks high, or low, it doesn’t mean that each care home in your area will reflect the region’s overall score. In fact, spurred on by their poor ratings, some homes in low-ranking regions have recently been awarded “outstanding” reports by their local regulator.

Is the care home regulated?

Look for care homes that are registered with their national regulatory body – the CQC (Care Quality Commission) for England, the CSSI (Care and Social Services Inspectorate) for Welsh care facilities, the Care Inspectorate for Scotland and the RQIA (Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority) for Northern Ireland. By choosing registered care homes, you can be sure that the homes you view are bound by standards set by the appropriate regulatory body and that they are regularly inspected to ensure that they meet those standards. Regular reports help you to gain an insight into a particular residential care home’s strengths and weaknesses.

Is the care home reviewed?

Consumers are taking more and more control over the services they receive; from online purchases, to restaurants and holidays, a reviewer’s opinion often means more to us than professional reports.  As potential customers, we all tend to give more value to people’s genuine real-life experience over formal reports and rankings. It is, therefore, not a surprise that people are relying on first-hand reviews of care homes made by service users and their loved ones.

Does the care home offer the specialisms and facilities that you need?

Every person is different and has different needs when it comes to physical and emotional well-being. The first priority in looking for a residential care home or nursing home is to find one that offers the specialisms you need, from day care and respite care to specialised dementia and end of life care. Once you have established that your shortlisted homes offer the right specialisms, take a closer look at the facilities. Moving into a care home is a move designed to improve your existing quality of life. Do you love walking, swimming or going to the gym? Make sure that the care home you choose has its own gym, or is near to a leisure centre. Are you a lover of the arts? Find residential care that is close to galleries, theatres and cinemas. By ensuring that the residential care homes you shortlist offer the facilities you want you will be able to continue living life to the full.

Does the care home feel right?

As with any relocation, when you are looking for residential care or supported living accommodation, the “feel” is vital. Ask yourself honestly if you can see yourself feeling at home; speak to staff and other residents and feel free to ask as many questions as you want. Ask if you can bring pets, your own furniture and pictures to make your new home feel like home; if you are dissatisfied with the answers, ask more questions!

The decision to move into a care home is a significant life event and, while it is natural for you to have some reservations, making the right move could dramatically improve your life. Don’t be afraid to talk about your thoughts, fears and concerns with those around you; the more you talk, the easier it will be for you to find a care solution that is right for you.

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