Choosing a care home is difficult – it is important to get right and there are lots of things to think about. To help you ensure you find the best care home for you or your loved one, we have gathered some helpful tips for finding the best care home.

Firstly, you need to ask yourself if a care home is definitely the right choice. It is a big change moving into a care home and it can cost a lot of money. Look into sheltered accommodation and options for living independently at home first, and then if these options are not suitable you should consider a care home.

There is not a one-size-fits-all care home, so you need to understand the different kinds available. Some care homes provide residence on a permanent basis, while others can provide care until the individual is ready to move into the residence. There are two different types of care homes;

  1. Residential care homes
  2. Nursing homes

Residential care homes vary greatly in size and services provided. They offer accommodation with care available at any time day or night. Staff can assist with as much or as little as is needed, such as help washing, dressing and using the toilet.

Nursing homes differ in the way that they also provide on-call medical care from a qualified nurse. Some nursing homes specialize in specific care and medical needs. For example, homes specializing in severe disability care or care for those suffering from dementia. A good place to start when researching and comparing homes is The Care Quality Commission (CQC) website, where you can find info on regulated homes and the specific care they provide.

One of the first things you need to assess is how the care will be paid for. You can speak to your local council if you need help funding care, they may be able to provide you with support and a few options to choose from. The Money Advice Service provides guides and advice on paying for care, with the first port of call they recommend being your local social services. You will then have a care needs assessment and may go on to discuss NHS healthcare funding.

Always visit any prospective care home and do as much research as you can before visiting. Look into online reviews and testimonials, as well as taking in all the info on the care home’s website. You can often find online reports by local health authorities and inspectors – these are a must read. NHS Choices have a handy search tool which can give you a good starting list of homes to look into.

Cost, location, services provided and reputation are all things you should know before visiting a care home for the first time. When you arrive, keep notes and ask lots of questions. Take note of the staff – do they seem happy and not overworked? Independent Age has a list of eight criteria for assessing the quality of a care home, and there are others online that you can use to help you too. Ensure you do this before looking into Devon care homes.