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Top ten tips when choosing a care home for a loved one

Choosing a care home can be a daunting task, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with so much to think about. Our top ten tips cover some of the key things to consider when choosing a care home for a loved one.

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Top Tips

1. Talk to your loved one

If this is possible to find out what things are important to them in a home. If this is not possible it may help to discuss it with relatives and friends.

2. Location location location

Think about travel time for yourself and other family members and friends who may need to travel to visit, including local transport links. It’s also important to consider the location of the home if your loved one is familiar with the area so this offers some comfort. If distance is a factor, at Sanctuary Care we facilitate regular video calls using our iPads so you can feel closer to loved ones and also encourage letter writing. You can follow our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter: @SanctuaryCareUK to see what activities our residents are enjoying across our care homes.

3. Type of care

This is important in deciding which care home is most suitable for your loved one. Types of care can include residential, dementia, nursing and palliative. Social Services offer assessments and are connected to your local care and support services so can help advise you for those first steps.

Shop around

Don’t be afraid to make as many enquiries as you can and ask lots of questions. You may not have the luxury of time if your loved one needs urgent care, but it’s important that it’s the right home for now and future care needs so ideally they don’t have to move. At Sanctuary Care we have a dedicated enquiry team who are here to help you on this journey and provide you with answers to your questions and all the information you need.

4. Research

Useful places to look are Carehome.co.uk, the leading care home review website which provides a comprehensive listing of all care homes and publishes reviews from residents and loved ones. You can also look at the Care Quality Commission (CQC) who are the independent regulator of health and social care and view individual care home ratings and read their report.

5. Funding

This can seem like a complicated aspect of choosing a care home, but there is lots of guidance online so you can find out if you are eligible for financial help from your local council. To make things easier, Sanctuary Care have put together a clear guide of how care home fees and funding works.

6. Communication

Care home staff are experienced to help you! Once you have made contact with care homes you are interesting in, you should be regularly updated on how your loved ones enquiry is progressing and they should give you all the information you need and help guide you through the process to make it as easy as possible. At Sanctuary Care we will support you with your loved one’s enquiry with our specialist enquiry team guiding you through the options available, so you feel fully informed to make the best decision for your loved one.

7. Get a feel for the home

During the Coronavirus pandemic it can be difficult to make a decision without viewing a care home. Many care homes are offering virtual tours of their home where you and your loved one can take a tour and meet the staff to help get a sense of the home. Find out more about Sanctuary Care home tours here.

8. Checklist

There are lots of independent resources available online to help you know what to ask and what to look for when viewing care homes. At Sanctuary Care we have a simple and handy checklist of all the things you need to consider on a virtual tour ‘visit’, read more here.

9. Social Media and care home websites

Reading up on care home websites you are interested in and following the homes on social media is a great way to see what their values are and what daily life is like in the home. It is also worth checking individual care home websites for regular updates on their processes and procedures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

10. Confidence in caring during Covid-19

It’s important you feel confident in your loved one’s choice of care home at any time but particularly at the moment. Ask questions about their use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing for residents and staff as well as social distancing measures they have in place. Find out about visiting options during this time and other ways they can support you and your loved one to stay connected and keep in regular contact. The National Care Form (NCF) have developed a useful checklist tool for potential residents and their families to help them understand the extra measures in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.



New residents can either self-isolate in their own home before coming to the care home, or join us and then self-isolate*.

Sanctuary Care new admissions information

Find out more*

Update from Sarah Clarke-Kuehn (Adult Social Care Winter Plan) – Group Director Sanctuary Care 21 September 2020

Update from Sarah Clarke-Kuehn (Visiting) – Group Director Sanctuary Care 14 September 2020

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