Finding a good care home


Registered User
Mar 23, 2004
Southampton, UK
How does one go about finding a decent care home. My starting point has been sticking a postcode into the Commission for Social Care Inspection's website.

But how do you get recommendations? I'm getting desperate to find somewhere nice for a parent (they will be self-funding).


Registered User
Nov 16, 2005
Ashtead Surrey UK
I have also been trying to look for a good home for my mum. Ended up by looking for homes that deal with residents with Elderly Mental Impairment (EMI homes). The reason i looked for these was because I understand they have to have staff that can deal with dementia and other mental problems.

There seems to be a great deal of difference in the price but I a imformed that is due to the amount of personal care time required for each applicant. Hope this helps graniedeb in surrey


Registered User
Mar 12, 2005
West Sussex
My Mum is also self funding and we had to find a new care home back in the summer as she was wandering away from the one she was in.

I looked at the same site you did and made a list of a few homes that are EMI registered. We visited some and chose the one Mum is in now on the basis that it "felt " right for her. Though not the cheapest available, Mum deserves the best care possible.

The staff were happy and had mostly worked there for a long time and the residents were in a lounge with music playing and were being encouraged to stay awake.
Some homes we saw had rows of residents asleep in rows with a television playing to itself in the corner and staff were nowhere in sight.

We asked lots of questions, all of which were answered without hesitation, we also visited randomly a few days later and this confirmed our initial impression of the level of care. This home has worked out well for Mum and we have had no cause to complain at all.

Maybe we were lucky, but hard as it was to leave my precious Mum in the care of strangers, and I wept buckets when she moved, it has worked out well for her, hopefully you will find a good place too. Don't rush into it, but be guided by your instincts.

Good Luck



Registered User
May 20, 2004
Ditto to what Kathleen said!

The funding/cost issue is interesting as Aunt is self funding and yes the fees were higher than in her previous residential home however it seems she now qualifies for Government funding of some sort and this means she is now paying less than before!



Registered User
Mar 23, 2005
Hi gundo and graniedeb,

Welcome to Talking Point.

I would also agree with what Kathleen has said. By the time you have spoken with and visited half a dozen EMI homes, the differences will really be clear to see.

It may be that members of your local Alzheimer's Society branch will have recommendations but even then, so much of it is down to individual preferences which may not reflect your family's choices.

Take care,



Registered User
Mar 21, 2003
Hi Gundo,

you may want to check this thread out.

I can't recommend the Elderly Accommodation Council and the Alzheimer's society highly enough. They gave me a lot of contacts and then it was more of a process of elimination, firstly by phone and then leg work. The more places you can visit the better. Make absolutely sure that your parent will fit in. Before picking up the phone, make a list of questions and make sure they are all answered!

The good news is that there are some very good care homes out there. If you can, you should also try out some respite or go for a trial period.

Good luck
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Registered User
Mar 31, 2004
Just to say that Craig is right - there are some very good care homes. Sadly, we don't hear too much on the positive side, only the horror stories. When we went to visit the home Mum is now in, we were tremendously impressed by the facilities and particularly by the staff. We weren't wrong - after a year or more, I cannot praise the home highly enough, and the staff give all the residents excellent, loving care.


Dave W

Registered User
Jul 3, 2005
Same scenario, different dilemma

I too am currently in the process of trying to find a suitable care home (my Mother is currently in hospital).

Does anyone have experience of using agencies to help with this process - I'm being offered a one-off price of £375 to research suitable homes with vacanies, incl. 30 min consultation with me.

As I'm currently working c 12 hr days and werstling with all the other practilities (post forwarding, banks and bldg soc, EPA, rehousing pets etc.), this is an attractive proposition in many practical senses, but I'd like to know if anyone else has used such a service and what there experiences were.


Registered User
Oct 17, 2003
I don't know about anyone else but when I was looking for somewhere for Mum I think I would have jumped at this for someone else to share the pain.

What on EARTH do we pay the Social Services for? THEY should be doing things like this!



Registered User
Nov 13, 2005
NE Lincs
How to find good care homes

I was a lay assessor for the inspection unit, which proved to be useful when looking for a care home for my mum who has AD. Although the inspection reports are useful, I would pay several visits at different times unannounced, try to speak to other visitors, ask lots of questions from staff. I did this and it has payed off, my mum is now in a EMI unit in Stevenage, I am of the opinion it is important that staff are trained and understand the complexities of AD in order for our loved ones to recieve the best care that is available. My mother is very ill at the moment and unfortuately we have had to spend several nights and days staying with Mum as she nears the end. I feel very fortunate that my mum is in this particular care home because the care provided is excellent both day and night. I do hope you are as fortunate as I was and obtain the best care and support you can for your loved one

Take Care


Registered User
Jun 3, 2005
Quotes from 'Mary Poppins' - The day has come

Just thought the following 'Before & After' account might give some comfort to anyone going through that interim stage of getting some outside help. There ARE good care homes out there, but the bad ones get in the news horror stories. I'm sure not everyone adapts easily & quickly, but some get on unexpectedly well, as Mary P's father did. (I realise this thread was about respite care, but I don't believe they would have treated full-time residents any differently)

Posted by 'Mary Poppins' 23/11/05

The day has come

Today the day I have been dreading yet needing if that doesn't sound strange has come. Thisafternoon Dad goes into a care home for 2 weeks respite care. This is his first time away from Mum in nearly 60 years. He is in his 7th year of dementia and after a recent move of areas we managed to get a referral, within 10 days mum (or dad?) was assigned a social worker and he visited on Monday and within 2 days Dad is off to be assessed and to get his medication sorted. I have mixed feelings, I know I was the main instigator of this move, to that end I feel terribly sad and guilty. Will mum cope? she is very up beat at the moment because she has been ill herself and needs this break to recouperate but how will dad cope. He is (and always has been if I am honest) used to getting his own way and now with the condition he can be very aggressive if stopped from doing exactly what he wants. Last night I dreamt he was strapped in a chair and I was watching but could not stop them doing it to him - I KNOW that sounds dramatic but i think we have been on this treadmill of coping and caring and now others are involved I am panicing inside that he will not cope with the transition then he could be worse when he gets home. How do you know that when you've gone they will give him the care he needs and attention he demands? I feel sick with nerves. I am sure everyone who reads this will have had some of these thoughts - how do you cope? please help

Posted by 'Mary Poppins' today (2/12/05)

Respite update

I have just read what i wrote when I last posted about Dad going into respite for the first time. I was quite shocked at how stressed I sounded –
Well we got him there. It felt awful, but he was perfectly happy, hung his coat up and set off walking with one of the other residents. We felt at a loss what to do, we settled him in and left him tucking into his sandwiches which were for tea. He ate Egg Mayo, Tomato on cheese and corned beef without batting an eyelid! He would never have touched those things at home. Plain food that's him, not 'bu**ered about food like putting tomatoes on cheese!!!!! We had a laugh about that. Mum had a great first week I think but has hit a bit of a depressed 'feel.' The highs and lows, the guilt and relief, the anticipation and dread of him coming home. We have taken her on a girly day shopping and lunch and she loved that, and she is happy with how dad has settled but it's like holding your breath for the next hurdle. Dad fits in perfectly with the other residents which was a relief and the staff are lovely (no tying him down!) how they can do the job is simply beyond me. One nurse said it was because they went home after a shift and weren't related to the residents so things that would upset me they just deal with. That's not to say they don't care about their charges but it is a different emotion I think. Anyway next Wednesday is back home day so we'll see how he adjusts to being in a small bungalow after acres of space to walk around all day. Any one day at a time as I have read somewhere!


Registered User
Aug 23, 2005
I really wish I'd had a choice of EMI Care Homes - but there was only the one close enough to where I live and work to enable me to visit Mum often.

My husband and I run our own business so work long hours and visit Mum most often at about 8.30 - staying to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight.

The next nearest EMI home was half an hour away - making an extra hour's journeying!

Mum seems to be fairly contented - but this really depends on the staff on duty at the time. I'm very happy because if there's a prob lem I can reach out and touch her - she was 60 miles away in the previous Residential Home!

But if there's a choice just look and look, narrow it down to the favoured few, visit at odd hours, have your eyes and nose open then.......