Top 10 Questions to Ask When Visiting a Care Home

Published: 27/10/2023

There is a lot of choice out there in Residential Homes and Nursing Homes. Once you have decided on what homes to look for in your area, you need to know what questions to ask! Here are your top ten questions:

1. How Much will it Cost?

This will depend on if your loved one is paying themselves, the local authority are funding the placement or Continuing Health are paying for the placement. Weekly fees also vary across the country whether they be private or local authority funded. When you visit a home ask what their private fee rate is. This may be split into categories:

  1. Residential
  2. Residential Dementia
  3. Nursing
  4. Nursing Dementia

In my next article we will look at funding and the nursing element (FNC, which can be awarded) in more detail, as it can be difficult to understand all the funding streams available. 

2. Can My Loved One Bring Their Own Possessions?

Yes, of course. But find out what is provided by the home first as some homes supply a television among other items. If your loved one is moving into care from home, I would suggest they do not sell anything until they have seen the room and decided what they would like to bring what they can bring and what actually will fit!  Any soft furnishings must have the original fire label still attached. 

3. Can They Bring Their Pet?

Usually pets are at the discretion of the Home Manager. So ensure you are clear about what kind of pet can be brought to the home.

4. Does the Weekly/Monthly Fee Cover Services such as Chiropody?

Some homes will include services such as Chiropody but it is not usual. Find out what needs to be paid for separately. This is normally items such as hairdressing, Chiropody, daily paper and magazines

5. Can We Decorate our Loved One's Room?

Again this can vary from home to home. A room is normally painted once it is vacated and you can ask if you can choose the colour. However, this may be a limited choice. A Maintenance person is usually on hand to put up pictures. Ask the Manager what your choices are in regards to decorating the room.

6. Is Visiting Restricted? 

It is yours and your loved one’s human right to have access to each other at all times. Home are normally open 24/7 but may have guidelines in place. Meal times can be protected to maintain the dignity of all the residents, but ask if you can sit in another room or your loved one’s bedroom if you want to eat together. Ask what the home normally does about visiting. Government guidelines around covid and visiting homes can change quickly so for up to date information speak to the home.

7. How Quickly Can They Move In?

This can depend on a few things: 

  • If the funding is by the individual the home can undertake a pre-assessment as soon as they or the family want and agree a date with the home. If the person is in hospital they need to be ready for discharge.
  • Local authority-funded placements will request the home to undertake the pre-assessment, the home should then undertake this within 24 to 72 hours. 
  • Continuing Health funding will be known before you or your loved one starts looking for a Nursing Home
  • The home would expect confirmation of any type of funding in writing before they will admit the person.

Hospitals are always looking to clear beds so a discharge from hospital can happen quite quickly but it may be dependent on transport. Homes are unlikely to take admissions on Fridays or a weekend but most should be flexible to your needs.

8. What if my Loved One Doesn’t Like it?

Ask the home if they can provide respite care to see if it’s the right home. Most homes will provide this usually on a weekly basis. I would advise they try respite for a week or two, then maybe another week or two and by then they should know if it is the home for them. 

If your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia any change from the norm can cause an increase in agitation and distress. It can take a longer period of time for them to settle but you can discuss how this can be managed with the home.

9. Will The Home Contact You if Anything Happens?

If your loved one has capacity, they may not wish for you to be contacted if there are concerns. However, ask the home what their process is for notifying families in the event of a fall/accident or medication error for example. All registered homes in England have a ‘duty of candour’ under CQC legislation to inform the person concerned and/or next of kin or named person. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland each have an equivalent of CQC. 

10. Can my Loved One go out if They Wish?

Ask about activities in the home and trips out. If your loved one has capacity this can be discussed with the home as there may be medications to take if they are out. Those without capacity will need to be risk assessed by the home for outings. Ask the home what their process is for this. 

myTamarin Support

I hope you have found the selection of questions helpful! If you would like to discuss anything about Elder Care and have access to the support through your employer, please book a 1:1 session via your company link or via the app. 

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