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Choosing the right care home

You may want care funding advice and support for yourself or perhaps for a loved one. The Saga Care Funding Advice Service, provided by HUB Financial Solutions Limited, offers the peace of mind that only comes from engaging with experts in this area.

Choosing the right care home

Although it’s a hard decision to make and one that’s often considered a last resort, if it provides the care you or your loved one needs, then moving to a care home can be a very positive experience. But only if it’s the right home!

So, once you’ve made that decision, it’s important to thoroughly research a variety of homes to ensure you or your loved one will be happy there. And remember, the choice is yours – even if the Local Authority is paying for your care, you can still move to a different part of the country to be near relatives or friends, for example. You just need to bear in mind that there may be a slight difference in the care contributions you receive, depending on the Local Authority’s standard rate

Where to start

There are a number of ways to find out which care homes might be most suitable:

Social Services – If you intend to stay in the same area, your Social Services department should be able to give you a list of local homes and some information about them.

Care Quality Commission – If you are thinking of moving to a different area, the Care Quality Commission is a good place to start, as they have a nationwide list of all care homes, along with their reports and ratings. You can contact them by phone on 0300 061 6161 or visit www.cqc.org.uk for full information.

Library – Your local library may also have a directory of care homes.

The internet – If you do a search for care homes, there are various sites that may be able to help you with your selection.

Personal recommendation – Your doctor, social worker, friends or relatives may be able to recommend some good homes. However, although personal recommendations can be very valuable, you should always bear in mind that what suits someone else isn’t necessarily right for you.

Assessing affordability

Before going too far down the road, find out what the care homes’ fees are so you can make sure you’ll be able to afford to live there. There are two things to bear in mind:

If you are eligible for Local Authority funding –There is obviously a limit on the amount that a Local Authority will pay for your care, which they will tell you. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t choose a care home with fees above this level, as long as someone else (such as your family) is able to make up the difference.

If you have to pay for your own care – It’s important to make sure that you’ll be able to pay the care home fees on a long-term basis. The last thing you want is to run out of money and have to move out. The Saga Care Funding Advice Service team of specialist advisers can assess the long-term affordability of a home by helping to determine your total income and expenditure, including applicable state benefits, and the various options available to ensure you make best use of your assets. Call 0800 096 8703 to speak to a  member of the care funding team. Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. Calls will be monitored for training and regulatory purposes.

Making a choice

You’ve looked at the availability and affordability of a selection of care homes. Now it’s time to get down to the detail and find out all you can about the ones you’re most interested in:

Get brochures – Care homes should be able to send you a copy of their brochure, and it may also be available online. The brochure should make it clear what level of help is provided and how the home meets residents’ care needs. As you read through it, make a note of anything you would like to ask about if you decide you’d like to visit.

Visit the homes – When you have a shortlist of the most suitable homes, make an appointment to visit them and, if possible, take someone with you. This is your opportunity to get a feel for the place, have a chat with both staff and residents and get the answers to your questions. It’s helpful to make notes about each home, so you can compare them later.

Stay for a while – Once you’ve found the home you think is right for you, consider arranging a trial period there. Many homes let you book a short stay of a few weeks, so you can really get to know the place and the staff before making a final decision. Alternatively, they may let you move in on the understanding that the first four weeks are a trial period and, if you’re not happy, you can leave giving a week’s notice. Remember, this is going to be your home, so you need to be comfortable and happy there.

Moving in – Before making the commitment to stay, ensure you have a written agreement about the terms of the care you are buying and, if you are paying for your own care, a contract or resident’s agreement. This should confirm exactly what you will be paying and what that charge covers. You will also need to be clear about any extra costs and how and when the price will be reviewed.

Call today to speak to a member of the care funding team

0800 096 8703

Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday

You can also find out more about the service and fees on the Important Information page.