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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Choosing a care home

After deciding to move into a care home, you'll need to begin the process of choosing the right one for you. This can often take some time. Find out what your rights are when choosing a care home and who can help you.

Your local council can help you choose a care home and, after a financial assessment, may contribute towards the cost.

Your right to choose

You have the right to choose which care home you live in. If your local council is helping with your fees you can still choose as long as:

  • your choice is suitable for your care needs
  • there is a place available
  • they can agree a contract with the care home to make sure you receive the support you need
  • the cost is not more than the local council normally pays for someone with your assessed needs

Visiting care homes you are interested in

If possible you should visit care homes that you are considering to make sure they meet your current and possible future needs. You might like to have a checklist with you of points that are important to you in case you forget to ask something.

Things you might want to consider:

  • are staff adequately trained to care for people with your disability or needs?
  • is it accessible?
  • is appropriate equipment available - for example handrails, hoists, adjustable baths and armchairs?
  • can you keep your own doctor?
  • can your food and dietary needs be met?
  • can your religious or cultural needs be met?

Talking to staff, residents and managers can help you get an idea what living there might be like. You should feel able to visit more than once.

Finding the right care home

Finding the right care home can take some time. If you have specific or complex care needs it can sometimes be difficult. Charities and organisations related to your specific disability might be able to offer advice about choosing a care home.

There are relatively few care homes able to meet the needs of younger disabled people. Your local council should be able to tell you about those in your area.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspects all registered care homes and writes a report on what they find. Reading the reports of the care homes you are considering might help you make a choice - you can read them online on the CQC website.

On the CQC website you can search for care homes with and without nursing care. You can also look for care homes that provide care for people with:

  • learning disabilities
  • physical disabilities
  • sensory impairments
  • dementia
  • mental disorders

National minimum standards issued by the Department of Health state that care homes should offer trial stays. This may include the chance to meet staff, have a meal and an overnight stay.

Find out about local residential care

You can find out more about local residential care by visiting your local authority website  - see the link below.

What if the care home does not have a place?

You can arrange to go into a different care home while you wait for a place or arrange for services at home. If your local council is helping with costs then they can help you with either of these options.

What if you want a care home in a different area?

You may wish to move to a care home in a different local council district to the one where you currently live. This could be because you want to be near to relatives or the place where you grew up.

Your local council are responsible for your fees if you've been assessed and they have agreed to pay for you. They will still be responsible for your fees if you choose a care home somewhere else.

Under certain circumstances your local council may be able to pay the care home fees if they are more expensive.

Choosing a care home for someone else

If the person you care for is not able to express their choice then the local council should take your preferences into account.

Closure of a care home

Sometimes a care home will close and the residents will have to move. Where a home closes, residents should be moved with as little disruption as possible. Local councils have a responsibility for making alternative arrangements for anyone that they place in a home which closes.

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