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

There are so many things to consider when you are choosing a care home for yourself or loved one. We have produced these handy top tips to help guide you through the process, every step of the way.

If you are unsure about anything we are here to help. Please pick up the phone and call our Enquiry Support Team on 0800 046 4829, email or join us online using the Live Chat button.

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.

“Raising the subject of care can feel like the hardest thing to do. But often once that conversation has been had, you feel more empowered to start your journey to find the perfect care home.” Suzanne, Enquiry Support Team Leader

Location, location, location

Think about travel time for yourself and other family members and friends who will want 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, as familiarity can offer great comfort. At Sanctuary Care we support our residents to write letters and enjoy regular video calls using our iPads to keep you connected.

Types of care

This is important in deciding which care home is most suitable for your loved one. Types of care can include residential care, dementia care, nursing care, palliative care and respite care. Your local authority can carry out a needs assessment if you are unsure and think you are entitled to financial support.

Do your research

Useful places to look are, the leading independent 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) and Care Inspectorate (CI) websites, the independent regulators of health and social care for England and Scotland respectively. Here you can view individual care home ratings and read their reports.


This can seem like a complicated aspect of choosing a care home, so to make things easier, we have put together a free guide on Paying for Care (PDF 254KB) for you to download today.

“The most common questions we are asked are about funding. Often people are not sure if they are entitled to financial support or whether they need to pay for care privately, we are help you every step of the way.” Meegan, Enquiry Support Team Advisor

Communication is key

Care home staff are experienced to help you! Once you have made contact with care homes you are interested in, you should be regularly updated on how your loved one’s enquiry is progressing.

Our virtual tours

During the Coronavirus pandemic it can be difficult to make a decision without viewing a care home. At Sanctuary Care we provide virtual tours so you can get a real feel for the home and meet the staff.

Once you have made your decision, the team will do a free virtual assessment so they have all the information they need to meet your loved one’s care needs.

“In these strange times we know it is hard not viewing a home in person. Our virtual tours are the next best thing and are a wonderful way to see the home and ask any questions you might have to put your mind at ease.” Tracy, Enquiry Support Team Advisor


There are lots of independent resources available online to help you know what to ask and what to look for when viewing care homes. We also have a simple and handy checklist of all the things you need to consider.

Social media and care home websites

Looking at the websites for care homes 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. You can follow our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter @SanctuaryCareUK.

Confidence during Covid-19

It’s important you feel confident in your loved one’s choice of care home at any time, but particularly right now. 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. We have regular updates on the news page our website to keep you fully informed.

“Moving into a care home during these strange times can understandably cause people to worry more than usual. Why not read about the experiences of residents who have recently 

moved into our care homes on our news page to put your mind at ease?” Sally, Enquiry Support Team Advisor

The National Care Form (NCF) has developed a useful checklist tool (PDF) for potential residents and their families to help them understand the extra measures in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.

We hope this helps – if you have any questions please do just pick up the phone and call our Enquiry Support Team on 0800 046 4829, email or join us online using the Live Chat button.