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Housing/Care homes


The prospect of someone close to you moving into residential or nursing care can be a traumatic and difficult time for all the people involved.  We acknowledge this and provide some support services to help you through this period:

  • Emotional support
  • Advocacy
  • Information about accessing residential or nursing care
  • Help with a Life Story Book
  • List of homes in the local area
  • Tips on questions to ask when viewing residential or nursing homes.





  • By talking things through with someone outside of the situation might help you to think straight.
  • Discussing your concerns with others who have already, or are about to make, the same decision, may make you feel less isolated.
  • Information about homes available may give you a wider choice.
  • You might learn about a wider range of services and possible alternatives.
  • By compiling a Life Story Book, a personal record of an individual’s life, which can assist those who will be involved in providing future care, as well as being an aid to someone’s memory (please ask to see the Life Story Book Leaflet)
  • Sometimes you may need some independent support at meetings where decisions are being made.




Will it be easy to keep in touch with family and friends? Is there transport to help residents to get out?

The Building:

Is the entrance easily accessible?

Can someone using a wheelchair move around the home easily?

If there is more than one floor, are there lifts?

Are there call bells in the bedrooms and communal areas?

Are rooms and corridors suitably lit?

Is the home well decorated and maintained?

Are you happy with the standard of cleanliness?

Does it seem a comfortable temperature for the residents?

Is there a garden that can be used by the residents?

What are the security arrangements?

Resident Rooms:

Can residents have a single room?

Are there rooms with their own bathroom and toilet en suite?

Will the resident’s room be cleaned every day?

Is there provision for married couples?

Can residents lock the door of their room?



Are care staff expected to do domestic tasks also, or are there separate workers employed?

Do staff seem caring and attentive towards residents?

Are residents allocated a member of staff who will take a special interest in their welfare?

How many residents are there?

How many staff are on duty, in the morning, afternoon, evening and at night?

Are night staff awake or on call?

What qualifications do staff hold?

What training is given to staff?


Is there a menu, with a choice of dishes?

Can special diets be catered for?

Can residents make a snack or drink whenever they want?

Can residents have meals in their rooms?

Can residents choose who to sit with?

Daily living:

Can family and friends visit without restriction?

Are there places where residents can spend time in private with their guests?

Can visitors stay for a meal?

Can residents make or offer their guests a drink or a snack?

Are families notified of or involved in review procedures?

Are families notified of and/or involved with Inspection visits?


Are there any other residents of similar age, background, interest living in the home?

Are there the facilities and staff support to enable residents to continue current activities/hobbies?

Is there a staff member dedicated to organising leisure activities?

Are weekly groups/classes held e.g. exercise, handicrafts, etc?

Are regular social events and outings arranged?

Is there a mobile library service?

Are pets allowed to live in the home?

Are pets allowed to visit?


Will staff give support and encouragement for residents to continue to practice their religion?


Is there a telephone residents can use without people overhearing what they are saying?

Is there a telephone that meets any special requirements residents have (for example, amplification)?


How do residents participate in making decisions about life in the home?

Is there a Residents Committee, or group?

Can a resident help around the home if they wished?

Can residents have their own TV in their room?

Can residents have a telephone installed?

If residents have to share a room, can they meet the other person beforehand to see whether they will get on?

Can residents have a different room if they do not get on with the person they are sharing with?

Are there screens in shared rooms to give privacy?

Bathroom / Toilets:

Have toilets, baths and showers been adapted to make them easy for residents to use?

Is there a toilet within easy reach of the bedroom?

Are toilets clearly labelled?

Communal Rooms:

Is the furniture in the communal rooms arranged in a homely way?

Is there a choice of lounges?

Is there a quiet room with no TV?

Are there non-smoking rooms?

Are there rooms where residents can smoke?

Personal Possessions:

Is there a safe place where valuables can be kept?

Does the home take responsibility for insuring residents’ possessions?


Care Practices:

What are the written aims, objectives and philosophy of the home?

Are residents treated with dignity as well as in a friendly manner?

Are personal matters handled in a private, confidential way?

Can residents get up and go to bed when they want?

Do staff members always knock and wait for an answer before entering a resident’s bedroom?

Personal Care:

Can residents have a say in the way they are looked after/helped?

Do staff take time to encourage residents to do things for themselves where possible, rather than doing it for them?

Can relatives or friends help with personal care if residents wish them to?

Does a hairdresser/barber visit the home?

Are arrangements made for dental care?

Does a chiropodist visit the home?

Does each resident have a written care plan which is adhered to by all staff?

Health Care:

Can the resident keep the same doctor that they have now?

Is there a local doctor who accepts patients from the home?

Does a doctor visit the home regularly?

If the residents health gets worse, can they continue to live at the home?

Can residents keep their own medication or is it given by staff?

What arrangements are in place for visits to hospital/dentist etc?

Do staff encourage residents to maintain their mobility?

Terms and Conditions/Cost:

Is there a written contract/agreement?

How long a trial period can you have?

What notice must be given if a resident wants to leave the home?

What is the weekly charge?

Does the weekly charge cover outings, telephone, incontinence pads, medical supplies, personal items, transport, laundry, chiropody, physiotherapy, hairdressing, meals for visitors, dry cleaning, clothing, newspapers, dental treatment?

Is there anything else charged for additionally?


What happens if a resident is unhappy in the home after they have moved in?

How are conflicts between residents resolved?

How does a resident or relative make a complaint?

Inspection reports on residential homes are available at libraries.


Local authority funding for care

Depending on the support you need and your finances, you may be able to receive help towards the cost of your care. This may pay for all of your care or some of your care. A means tested financial assessment will decide how much help you can get towards the cost of care.

If they pay towards your care you can still pay for extra care yourself if you want.

If they help pay for your care this can be done in many ways:

  • they can arrange the care for you and pay for it
  • they can pay you money and you can arrange your own care (direct payments)
  • you can arrange your care and we they can pay them (individual service funds)

Or you can purchase care yourself privately without an assessment.

If you think you need care and would like a financial assessment please call 01708 432000.

If the Council are already helping you with the cost of care and you would like to change how it is paid, or if you think you may need more help please call 01708 432000.


Independent Age produce very helpful fact sheets on care homes fees and other subjects.

Tel: 0800 319 6789 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday

9am – 5pm weekends and Bank holidays



Another useful organisation is:

The Relatives & Residents Association                         

1 The Ivories

6-18 Northampton St


Tel: 020 7359 8148

Advice line is open Mon to Fri 9.30 to 4.30

020 7359 8136

info@relres.org   www.relres.org