Moving into a care home UK: Consideration & tips

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Here at Kelly’s Storage, we talk to a lot of people who are storing with us to prepare for a move into a care home. Due to this, over the years, we have come to realise that there are a whole host of aspects that people must consider when moving into a care home.


We understand that it can be a confusing and emotional time for all involved with the move and transition, so we thought it would be valuable for you to have a list of considerations, tips & potential questions to ask the facility when considering moving a family member into a care home within the UK.


So, let’s get straight into it. We hope these tips help you & your family in planning for the care home move.

Visiting Care Homes Before The Move

It is advisable to visit as many care homes as you can to get a real feel for each place before making any final decisions. It is not always advisable to just choose the closest care home to the family if the member going into care is not going to be happy there. Take the time to view a number of care homes & weigh up the pros & cons of each.


This also gives the person going into the care home the time to meet some of the residents in each home.


Want to get a quick insight as to how the home operates? Ask to see a recent inspection for that home. They are obliged to give this information & it will help you in making the decision.


Ask as many questions as you can from each Care Facility. Sit down with whoever is going into care & come up with all of the things you want to ask & create a list. Then you can ensure you get all of your questions asked and compare responses by each.


How were the staff when you first entered the home? Were they friendly? Did they welcome you? Do the other residents look happy & well looked after? When you first walk in, take note of these things as this will tell you a lot about how the place will be once moved in.


Are there a lot of activities happening? Are the residents chatting with each other? If you can, go multiple times. Once on a ‘normal’ day & once on a day that they have some scheduled activities happening. This will give you a great idea of how they keep their residents engaged and entertained throughout the days & weeks.


How independent does everyone seem? Are they doing a lot by themselves or are the carers doing it all? If you have an older family member that is moving into a care home and are still active, it is reassuring to know that they will have the ability to be independent and associate with others that are too.


How accessible is the care home? How long will it take for family & friends to get to the care home to visit? Are there shops and parks etc nearby?

Care Home Facilities

Are there single rooms available? Can residents bring some items of furniture with them? This can be a very important factor during the transition into a new care home as you probably well know.


Visually check if the care homes corridors, toilets, bathrooms & entrances are wide enough & easily accessible for wheelchairs, walkers & more. How are other residents finding it as they make their way around the care home? 


Have a look around some of the rooms. Are they bright and airy? Pleasant smelling? Clean?


Are there a suitable number of toilets? Are they close to the main bedrooms? Do they have all the mobility aids needed such as handrails & raised toilet seats?


Watch the staff, how quick are they to react to residents when they call them or need assistance? 


Is the home linked to a GP practice for its residents?


Does the home support residents with Dementia?


For hospital visits, what are the travel arrangements? Do carer’s accompany residents on the day? Is there a charge for this?


Parking at the care home, is there plenty of space? This could be an indication of how many people visit regularly.


What are the visiting times? How many people can visit one resident & for how long? Are children welcome?


Are visitors able to stay overnight?


Are visitors able to eat with residents at mealtimes?

Care Home Activities

Who is the activities coordinator? Is there one? 


Do staff members sit & chat with residents (this may not always happen as carer’s generally are very busy and always on their feet, but well worth looking into to see how they are interacting with residents)


How many rooms or areas are available for sitting with friends, family & other residents? Are there quiet areas where people can just relax?


In the main activity & lounge areas, how are chairs arranged? Are residents encouraged to sit with each other & converse?


Is there adequate entertainment & services available for residents, such as TV’s, Radio, Reading Areas, Newspapers, Library, Public Phone, Computers with Internet Access & Hair Dressing Services as a minimum?


Have a look at the care home’s gardens. Are they well kept? Easily accessible? Actually, used by the residents?


Is there a resident pet? Are residents allowed to bring their own?

The Care Home Staff

Whilst we have mentioned staff throughout the article, it is worth giving it its own section:


Does the Care Home staff seem friendly, open & willing to talk to you & other residents?


Can they answer any questions or concerns you may have to a suitable level that makes you feel comfortable?


How are they treating & talking to residents as they help them with their day-to-day tasks that you are able to see? 


Are you able to talk to any of the residents? What do they think of the staff that cares for them?


How many staff members are on duty? Are there enough carers for the residents in the home?


Talk to a few staff members if you can, do they know about their residents? Do they know their backgrounds, interests, etc?


Ask the staff how often they have staff training.


Do all staff members have care qualifications?


What is the protocol if a family member is taken ill in the home? Who is notified & when?

Eating at the Care Home

Do residents regularly eat together or by themselves in their room? How flexible is the home with allowing eating in their rooms?


Is there a good choice of food & menus for the residents?


How often is the menu updated and changed?


Are suitable snacks available during the day & evening for residents?


Where is the resident’s food prepared?


Does your family member have any dietary requirements? Can the home meet these needs?

Day To Day Care in The Home

Does each resident have their own call bell?


How flexible is the care home in allowing you & your family member to define your own routine with regards to waking up, going to bed & other considerations throughout the day?


How are residents guided around the home? Are there signs? Or is it mainly verbal directions from staff?


How flexible is the home in allowing residents to wear their own clothes?


Is there secure storage in each bedroom for smaller items?


How is personal money handled at the Care Home?


How often can residents choose to have a bath or shower in the home?


Is there a good mix of female & male residents?

Care Home Terms & Conditions

Can you see the Care Home contract & terms & conditions?


What are the Care Home’s fees?


is it clear how the fees & extras are structured?


Is there a deposit to be paid? How much is this?


Are trial periods allowed for your family member to try & experience the home before fully moving in?


If a resident is unhappy after moving in, what are the terms & fees for moving back out?


Are resident’s valuables covered by the care home’s insurance?


If your family member has an extended stay in the hospital, what are the terms of this?


What is the notice period to cancel the contract?


What is the complaints procedure? Are you encouraged to give feedback?


Approach a random staff member, can they explain the procedure in the case of a serious incident?

Moving into a Care Home Final Steps

What is the process of moving into that care home? Is a full assessment carried out before a family member can be admitted?


Are direct carers informed about the Care Plan and the measures therein? 


If your family member has an illness or condition, do any of the care home staff have experience with dealing with it?


Does each resident have a named staff member that takes care of them at the home?


Are family members & residents involved in care decisions?


Ensure that all details are clear before signing & committing to anything, such as the weekly fee, extras that may be charged if any fee reviews will be scheduled during the stay, and other such questions that ensure you have all the details before moving into the care home.


What level of care can the home provide? If your family member’s condition was to deteriorate, what provisions are in place for this? Will they be able to remain in the same care home? If not, what other options are available & how does this process play out in that care home’s situation?


Does the Care Home support end-of-life care?

Final Thoughts

You are well within your rights to do & ask all of the above questions listed in this article.

You are essentially interviewing each care home to see if they are a right fit for you & your family member, not the other way around. 


So, do not be shy about asking the important questions as this can save a lot of hassel, heartache & money in the long run.


We hope you have found this article useful & that it assists you in finding the ideal Care Home for you & your family.


If you are moving a loved one into a care home and need storage click here to get a quote.

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