Finding a care home

4. Choosing a care home

Care homes may be arranged through the local authority but many people will arrange them independently. It is a good idea to visit several homes before making a choice. Make sure you spend enough time in each home to get a good idea of what it is like. Ask yourself the questions in the 'Things to think about when visiting care homes' page.

If you are looking for a home on behalf of the person with dementia, you may want to make the first visit on your own and then, if you think a home may be suitable, visit again with the person. You can then see what their reactions are, and how they might settle in. You may be able to arrange a trial period - many homes require these anyway and they can be very useful.

Before making a final decision, you may want to look at a recent inspection report for the home. These often give a lot of detail on how the home operates. You could ask the home itself to give you a copy or they are available from the CQC (in England), the CSSIW (in Wales) or the RQIA (in Northern Ireland).

If the local authority is arranging the care home, and there is more than one suitable home to choose from, the person has the right to choose which home they would like to live in. A care home is suitable if it can meet the person's needs, meets the local authority's conditions of cost, and has a place available for the person. The care home must also be willing to sign a contract with the local authority. If the person with dementia cannot make decisions for themselves (that is, they have been assessed to lack the mental capacity to do it themselves), the local authority must speak to the person's guardian, someone who has lasting power of attorney (LPA) for personal welfare or someone who is closely involved with the person. If there is no guardian, LPA or carer involved, the person has a right to an independent mental capacity advocate to make sure that the choice of care home is in their best interest.