Post No10...Moving a loved one into a carehome: A Four Step Guide

Post No10...Moving a loved one into a carehome: A Four Step Guide
Photo by Sri Jalasutram / Unsplash


When it comes to choosing a care home, most families are unfamiliar with the process. As discussed in my very first post This Is New to Me, many families also have uncertainties about what they need to do once a care home has been selected. This post has been written to help those who are unsure of what these steps might look like, and the process is quite standard across the industry.

Step 1 – Research Stage

Like with anything we buy, we tend to do our research first, and it’s the same with care homes. This does depend on how much time you have, and would be more difficult in a crisis or if timeframes are very short, but making a list always helps. Some early things to consider would be:

· The homes’ location

· Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating

· Whether you want a purpose built or an independent care home

· Whether the home offers the required care type (nursing care, dementia care etc)

Once a list has been made, try and narrow it down to shorter list of say two or three homes that, on the surface, fit in with the points listed above and a worth further exploration.

Top Tip – has customer reviews, but also lists care homes by area

Step 2 – Initial Enquiry and Viewing Stage

Once you have a completed shortlist of a few homes the next step is to contact them. Purpose built homes have a person whose job is primarily to talk to families about their situation and about the home. Smaller independent homes will not have such a function, and maybe slightly more sporadic in their approach as a result.

If you find yourself speaking with someone on the phone, you may want to consider the following points before committing to a viewing:

· Care home fees and costs, normally a ‘from’ cost at this stage

· Availability

Once these two points have been screened it is always (as in, ALWAYS) best to arrange a viewing at the home. Although there are similarities within care homes (i.e most purpose-built homes will have a bar, cinema, café etc) its really important to get a feel for the atmosphere within the home, and this is where they will differ.

Gauging this, and seeing what the other residents are doing when you are there, will help you when making a decision. There are some additional things to consider at viewing stage:

· Are the residents engaged?

· Are the staff engaged?

· Is there a positive atmosphere in the home?

Once the homes have been viewed and a selection made, you will move on to the assessment stage.

Top Tip – It’s always worth checking the care homes rating with the regulator – see CQC website

Step 3 – Assessment Stage

The assessment stage is extremely important, it involves a clinician or Home Manager meeting the potential resident to better understand the care needs. The outcome of the assessment will confirm the following:

· Can the care home meet the persons care needs?

· What setting / care type would they require (i.e nursing care, dementia care etc)

· The weekly cost

Essentially, by this point in the process, we stop hypothesising and a formal decision is presented to the family. It’s important to note that the assessments are non-obligatory and are free of charge. Some providers will also compete a financial assessment, depending on whether they require a minimum term with regards to private funding (2 or 3 years is normal).

The assessments are important because they form the initial care plan for the person when they move in, and the more information leaned at this stage, the better the home is prepared for the admission.

Step 4 – Admission and Settling in Stage

Once the assessments are complete and price has been agreed, the person moves into the care home, normally on a set date depending on the circumstances of the admission. At this stage contracts will be signed and payments to the home made, usually consisting of a refundable deposit (2 weeks is normal) and the first months / 4 weeks care fees in advance.

The settling in process is something I will discuss in a future post in more detail, but its important to note that in the first few weeks both the resident, the family, and the care home are all getting used to each other. During this time, the resident maybe unsettled, but care homes are used to this and are normally very good at settling residents by building trust with them.

Did you know – some providers will do Emergency Admissions, bypassing the normal process, if a family is in crisis.


Although care home admissions mostly follow this template, all circumstances are different. Being proactive can help a family to conduct this process in good time with less stress, but if there has been a crisis or hospital admission, sometimes family’s and care homes have to adapt they way they work, and work quickly, to resolve the problem. This can add extra stress to an already stressful situation, so forward planning is always recommended.

The Care Whisperer says 'its best to only go to assessment stage if you are sure the home is the correct choice;

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