UK Checklist: Things to Consider When Choosing A Care Home

Your care home should be a comfortable and easy place to live, it should feel like home. We have put together this checklist to help find the best options for you.

We have put together this checklist to help you find your forever care home. It is important to remember when choosing a care home that your level of care and comfort are very important.  

First Impressions

  • Do the garden and grounds look well maintained and welcoming?
  • Does the care home look clean and orderly from the outside?
  • Is the garden and outdoor area accessible?
  • Are there pleasant views from the care home?
  • Do the staff look welcoming as you approach the facility?
  • Is the home clean and does it smell fresh when you enter?
  • Are the rooms a temperature which you feel comfortable in?
  • Does the decoration appeal to you and your taste?
  • Are the rooms clean and well maintained?


Accessibility and Convenience


  • Are there parking spaces and are they close to the entrance?
  • Are friends and family who you usually see able to get their easily?
  • Can you continue your usual routine without disruption? (This may include visits to shops, parks, places of worship etc.)
  • Does the facility have wheelchair access within and around the building, including the ability to manoeuvre when you are in?
  • Is the layout easy to remember and understand?


Carers and Staff


  • Do the staff seem interested when you first tour the care home?
  • Are the staff welcoming to you and your guests?
  • Do the staff seem to know about other residents’ lives and experiences?
  • Is it possible to choose between male and female carers?
  • Are there enough carers throughout the day, in the evenings and on the weekends?
  • Is there a manager or senior supervisory on duty at all times?
  • Do you get to know the staff on a personal level?
  • Does the care home run background checks on staff members?


Meeting Care Needs


  • Do staff have experience dealing with any health conditions you or your loved one may have?
  • Does the home assess new residents’ situations and circumstances before agreeing to accept them?
  • Do residents seem to have similar requirements to you or your loved one?
  • Are there appropriate bathroom facilities for requirements?
  • Are bathrooms accessible? Remember this may be during the night also
  • If you or a loved one’s needs or requirements increase, can they still be met?
  • How are medications managed and distributed?
  • How are medical emergencies handled?
  • How are staff trained to handling different situations?
  • Do toilets and other rooms have handrails, raised toilet seats and other mobility aids?
  • Who makes the decision for when a health check-up is required?
  • Is there a policy or procedure in place for medical equipment?
  • Can the care home help with travel arrangements?
  • How does the home support those with visual, sensory or other impairments?
  • How does the care home ensure friends and family are kept up to date with developing situations?
  • Can the care home help and support end-of-life care?


Daily Considerations


  • Does the care home have good signage?
  • Is the care home easy to navigate?
  • Does the care home allow you to choose when you get up and go to bed? Will it allow you to follow your routine?
  • Is the care home secure and do you feel safe?
  • How does the care home help with finances? Do they allow you to handle your own money?
  • Are you allowed or is your loved one allowed to bring their own belongings and furniture?
  • Do residents have their own private bathrooms?
  • Is there a mix of both male and female residents?
  • Do residents get the choice of how frequently they wash and use the facilities?




  • Is food prepared fresh at the care home?
  • Is there a menu of food and can you see a sample of what the residents have?
  • Do residents eat together or do they eat at different times?
  • Are you able to access snacks throughout the day and in the evenings?
  • Does the care home meet specific dietary needs and requirements?
  • Are residents (and visitors) able to make your own drinks?
  • Does the care home allow alcohol and other drinks?
  • Do rooms provide sufficient personal space?
  • Do carers provide assistance if required for eating or drinking?
  • Is the care home conscious of any religious requirements?


Activities and Social Life


  • Are there social activities that you are interested in?
  • Do residents of the care home seem like they are occupied and enjoy themselves?
  • Is there an activities coordinator or someone who organises game nights?
  • Are there social areas or living areas which allow for socialising?
  • Do care home residents look comfortable as they are socialising with each other?
  • Does the care home allow residents to bring pets or other animals?
  • Does the care home have devices such as radios, TVs, books, or shared computers?
  • Does the care home allow for special occasions or special visits?


Visitation Rules


  • Are young children welcome to visit the care home?
  • Are visitors able to stay overnight if required?
  • Are there any restrictions on visiting times or the number of visitors that are allowed?
  • Are visitors able to visit during eating times and can they eat with residents?
  • Can visitors go where they want when they visit the care home?


Feedback and Concerns


  • Is there a complaints procedure in place at the care home?
  • Is the supervisor or manager easily approachable and contactable?
  • Are you encouraged to voice your opinion and give feedback?
  • If the care home discovers any mistreatment, is there a feedback mechanism to report to loved ones or other related parties? (consider rephrasing)


Financial Aspects and Terms


  • Are you able to review a copy of the care home’s terms and conditions?
  • Are prospect residents able to stay for a trial period?
  • What does the care home charge and are there any hidden fees?
  • How are fees collected, structured and calculated? Is it possible to get a breakdown?
  • Is a deposit required for the care home? Are there any advance fees?
  • Are there any fees payable after a resident’s death?