Making a decision about care homes

Making the decision to move to live in a residential or nursing home, requires careful consideration on a number of issues.

These include being clear that:

  • Moving to live in a care home is the most appropriate option for you
  • You know the type of care home you require
  • You know how you are going to pay for your care
  • You know how you are eligible for any source of financial help

It's important to explore whether you need to move into a different type of accommodation such as sheltered accommodation or extra care housing that may provide the supportive living environment you need. 

Do ask questions. This is the way to make sure you have all the relevant information and will help you make the choice of care home which is right for you.

Questions you may wish to ask


  • Can the home be reached by relatives and friends to allow for early visiting?
  • Does the location suit my care needs?
  • Is the care home close to the sort of local facilities I want to use?


  • Does the care home feel homely and welcoming?
  • Do I like the look of the home?
  • Is it easily accessible and suitable for my mobility needs?
  • May I have a single room or can I share if I wish?
  • May I bring possessions and furniture into the care home to make my room feel like my own?
  • Is it too luxurious or too basic?
  • Is it too small or too big?
  • Is it clean?
  • Can I see their current inspection report?
  • Are there en-suite facilities?

Personal requirements

  • May I use my room at any time of the day?
  • Can I have a television and/or radio in my room?
  • Will I have to pay for a TV licence?
  • Can I have my own telephone and/or is the communal phone situated somewhere quiet and private?
  • How are my valuables made secure?
  • Do I need my own contents insurance policy?
  • Is there provision for the safe keeping of monies?
  • What happens about getting to the shops or help to purchase new goods, e.g. new clothes or new shoes?


  • Who manages and owns the care home?
  • Does the person in charge make me feel welcome and at home?
  • Are the staff friendly and do they talk to me?
  • Do the staff talk to the residents and do they use an appropriate manner?
  • How would I be addressed and how would I address staff?
  • Are there opportunities for socialising within and outside the care home if I wish?
  • Are resident's meetings/forums held?
  • What facilities are there for receiving visitors?
  • Are there restrictions on when people can visit?
  • Can visitors stay overnight?

Personal Care

  • What level of personal care is provided?
  • What emphasis is placed on keeping residents as independent as possible?
  • What equipment does the care home have to assist with the activities of daily living?
  • How often can I have a bath or shower?
  • What would happen if I needed more assistance in the future?
  • Will my own doctor continue to visit me in the care home if I choose?
  • What happens about the administration of medications?
  • What happens about hospital outpatient visits, dental, chiropody and optical appointments?

Life within the home

  • What is the general daily routine within the care home?
  • Do the residents appear to be happy?
  • Do the residents seem alert?
  • What range of food menus is there to choose from?
  • Are specific dietary needs catered for?
  • Do residents eat their meals in a communal dining area or in their own rooms?
  • What activities are organised within the care home?
  • Is there access to a hairdresser or other services and are these at an additional cost?

Possible restrictions

  • What restrictions apply to smoking?
  • Would I handle my own monies?
  • Can I bring my dog/cat or other pet with me? if not could they be brought in to visit?
  • Are there any other restrictions?


  • Will I be encouraged to follow my hobbies / interests?
  • What activities are provided within the care home?
  • Are outings and holidays arranged - and are these at an additional cost?
  • Does the care home have a visiting library facility?
  • Is there a garden and how accessible is it?
  • Are escorts available to enable trips out?
  • Will I be able to access appropriate religious services, activities or support groups?