Care homes

There may come a time when the person you care for can no longer be looked after at home and may need to move permanently into a care home.
Moving into a care home is a big decision. Ask for an assessment from your local council for the person you care for to help you work out if a care home would be the best option for them.  ou should also make sure you have had a carer’s assessment so that your needs can also be considered.
There are different sorts of care homes:
  • Residential or rest homes –provide help with personal care.
  • Nursing homes – also have qualified nursing staff who can provide care. 
  • Specialised care homes for adults – care for older people, people with dementia or adults with learning disabilities.
  • Care homes for children with physical disabilities, learning disabilities or emotional problems.
  • Short term or respite care – some care homes welcome people who might not want to move in permanently.
For more information about care homes visit the NHS Choices website.

Choosing a care home

It is important to know what the person you care for needs if they move into a care home.  You should visit the care home to see if you like it. Try to drop in without making an appointment to see what the care home is really like.
Age UK have a checklist you can use when you visit care homes to help you decide if they would be suitable. See finding a care home on the Age UK website.
You can search for care homes online and see what other people thought about them:
You can also ask your local carer service or local council for help finding a suitable home. 

Care home inspections

In England all care homes are regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). You can search online for reports of care homes near you.
In Wales you can view inspection reports of care homes on the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales website.
In Scotland you can view inspection reports and current grade of care homes on the Care Inspectorate website. 
In Northern Ireland The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) regulates care homes. You can view inspections online.

Paying for a care home

You should get advice about the best way to pay for a care home:
  • Some people have their stay paid for in full by NHS continuing healthcare.
  • If you arrange the care home privately the person you care for will have to pay.
  • Your local council may be able to help - they will assess how much the person you care for needs to pay. The amount the person you care for has to pay will depend on their needs, if they own a property, if they are on benefits, if they have savings and how much their income is. Your income and savings may also be taken into account if you live with the person you care for.  
Age UK have a factsheet about paying for permanent residential care.

Caring for someone who is in a care home

If you look after someone who moves into a care home permanently it does not necessarily mean that you stop being a carer. In fact, many carers still spend a lot of time visiting the home, helping with care and keeping the person they care for company. You can ask for a carer’s assessment if you find caring continues to play a big part in your life.
Once the person you care for lives in a care home you can continue to be involved in decisions about their care. Try talking to the staff at the care home and make sure they know that you are a carer and wish to be involved.
Your benefits may be affected if the person you care for moves permanently into a care home. Contact your local carer service to see how the benefits you, and the person you care for, get could be affected. 

Coping with moving the person you care for into a care home

It can be very difficult when the person you care for moves into a care home. You may feel guilty about this or they may not want to move. If you would like some advice and support email our trained advisors:
The Alzheimer’s Society have a great guide about Coping with guilt.
There are also ways to help the person you care for settle more easily in care home, see Preparing for a move into a care home for some ideas.