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Evaluating Care Homes

For the elderly choosing to move into a care home, it is important that they make the right choice, based on their needs, their tastes and their finances.  By knowing what type of care home they want, and what conditions they desire, the elderly person can ensure that their transition to care home living is as enjoyable as possible.

Evaluating Care Homes
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Practical information

> Types of care homes

Care homes can be run by local councils, private companies or charities.
There are two main types of care homes. Both types can offer personal services that you may need, including but not limited to going to the bathroom, getting washed or dressed.  Some homes can offer nursing services (referred to as nursing homes) as an addition. These types of homes are ideal for elderly people affected by dementia (Alzheimer's) or that have other needs related to physical or mental conditions.

> Finding the right care home

In order to find the right care home, the elderly should find a list of local options and visit several, speak to their friends and family to find out which ones are they consider better than others. They can also consult local and UK-based organisations (either in-person or online) to get lists of care homes that are located in their area.

When an elderly person visits a care home, they should bring someone with them, as they can help them make a more objective choice. It is important that they question when visiting, and that they speak to some of the residents to find out if they like the services they receive. They should establish a written list of questions before they arrive.

Questions and answers

What kinds of inspections take place in care homes?Show

Local Councils and the Care Quality Commission can be involved in responding to problems in care homes.

Local Councils who are responsible for a care home can be contacted when there is a problem in service provision. If the Local Council does not or cannot respond, a resident or their family may approach a Local Council/Government Ombudsman.

The principal inspector of care homes is the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The CQC will inspect care homes usually on an annual basis, and inspections are unannounced. They evaluate the services offered by the care home based on national standards, and will speak with residents and staff, and will check to see that services meet standards and that the proper procedures are in place to ensure quality care is provided.

Inspections by the CQC can also be requested by residents or their families if they perceive that problems exist.

What can the CQC do to solve problems in care homes?Show

The CQC can take one of two steps to solve problems in care homes. The more widely used approach is compliance measures. A problem is reported, and the CQC will ask the care home to remedy the identified problem.

If the care home does not remedy the situation, the CQC can either enforce a decision through civil action or criminal action. In civil action, a care home can receive a warning or have their registration modified, suspended or cancelled. In criminal action, after a warning is issued, the CQC could proceed with the issuance of a penalty or prosecute.


Local Council / Government OmbudsmanShow

A free service, the Local Council Ombudsman examines complaints about Councils and other organisations, including education admissions appeal panels and adult social care providers (such as care homes and home care providers) to investigate complaints.

Care Quality Commission (CQC)Show

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) ensures that hospitals, care homes, dental and GP surgeries, and all other care services in the United Kingdom provide people with safe, effective, compassionate and high-quality care, and can encourage/force them to make improvements.

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