Visiting a care home

Visiting the care homes you have shortlisted is extremely important; only by visiting can you truly discover the atmosphere of a care home and whether you could feel at home.  Other elements to consider when you visit are:


How easy is it for people to visit you?  This could include the surrounding roads to allow your visitors to get to you, what are the parking facilities like, can they see you in private when they do visit, and are there are restrictions on visiting hours.


When visiting, take in your surroundings; what is your impression of the building?  Is it in a noisy area; is it clean and well maintained? 

Your bedroom will be incredibly important to you when you move into your chosen home so think about:

  • The size of the room
  • Can you bring personal possessions to personalise it?
  • What facilities does it have?
  • Is there enough cupboard space for all your clothes and personal belongings?
  • Is the bed comfortable?
  • What is the view like?
  • Will you have a key?
  • Do staff knock before entering?
  • How easy is it to get to the other rooms?
  • What are the lounge and other communal areas like?  For example, who decides what is on the television or radio?  Are there other rooms available to you other than a lounge?  Is there a separate dining room?
  • How easy is it to move about the home?  Are there lifts or just stairs if it is over more than one floor?
  • Are there private phone lines and Wi-Fi available?
  • What are the security arrangements?



The care you will receive is also an extremely important consideration and one that should have determined your original shortlist of homes to visit.  Questions you need to ask would include:

  • Does each resident have an individual care plan?
  • Will you be able to remain in the home if your health deteriorated?
  • Can you retain your own GP?
  • How often is the home visited by a physiotherapist/chiropodist/hairdresser etc?
  • Are there set routines for when residents get up and go to bed?
  • What are the laundry arrangements?
  • Who looks after your drugs and medicine?
  • Can you get up and go to bed when you want to?
  • What social activities and entertainments are provided for the residents?  Does the home have its own transport?



When reviewing the catering arrangements, it is not just the choice of food you will be given that is important.  You should also consider what the meal times are and whether they are flexible.  Are you free to have your own snacks or cups of tea when you wish?  Can you eat in your own room or are all residents required to eat together at the same time?  Another important factor for you may be visitors joining you for meal times.


One of the first questions about fees will always be what the fees are, but you should also consider:

  • When they are payable
  • How they are paid
  • When and how the fees are reviewed – when asking this also investigate to what extent have they increased over the last few years
  • What services are and are not covered
  • The retainer you would have to pay if you leave the home temporarily while you are on holiday or in hospital
  • What would happen if you became unable to pay the full cost of the fees
  • Are there situations where you would be asked to leave
  • Is there a notice period you are required to give, or that they can serve you with
  • What items are covered by their insurance.



Looking at the management and accreditations the home has will give you an indication as to the care you are likely to receive and the checks that have been made by the local authority.

Feel free to ask the owner of the home what qualifications and experience they have, and those of the staff in the home.  You can also ask them about their future plans for the home and always request a copy of the latest inspection report and the complaints procedure.


Looking at the current residents in the home can tell you a lot about the home; how many residents there are and whether there are empty beds, what the age range is and whether they seem happy and well cared for.


As well as the residents, you should also take a look at the staff.  How many staff does the home employ, and how many are on duty at any time during the day or night.  Also observe how the staff seem to treat the residents, is it with respect and sensitivity?

Terms and conditions

Ensure you ask for a copy of the terms and conditions for the home and after your visit take the time to review them at your leisure, considering any particular criteria for admission, whether there is the option for a trial period and whether there is a written contract you would need to sign.

Everyone will have different needs when it comes to choosing a care home; however we hope that these are useful in identifying the areas you should be considering.  We are here to help you make plans for your future, so to find out more about writing a Will, having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place or how a Life Interest Trust Will could protect your property, contact Justine Alexander on 01329 222075 or email to book your appointment. 

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