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Fircroft Services Limited

17 Woodcote Valley Road, Purley CR8 3AL

 0208 668 7676

Choosing a Care Home - (Click Here to download this page in printable version)


Choosing a Care Home for a loved one is one of the most important decisions you may have to make.


People often have to consider looking for a Care Home during a personal or family crisis such as a serious illness, a fall requiring hospitalisation, or following the death of a husband or wife or parent who was the main carer. Invariably this means that they have to find a home quickly and with insufficient time to research and carefully consider all of the available options. We recognise the importance of taking your time and you not being rushed into making a decision; returning for further visits if you are unsure which home you should choose or to ask further questions.


It would be worth making arrangements to visit at least three Care Homes, if possible, more than once, before making any decisions. Sample the food and observe what is going on in the Home and talk to those living there and the staff. Watch the interaction between the staff and residents and ask to meet the Home Manager, as they will be setting the standards by which the home runs.


To help you in making an informed decision on which Care Home would be suitable for you or your loved one we have identified the following questions / guidelines:


...Click here to download the guidelines in print-friendly version...





A strong indication of a good Home is that the individuals appear happy and responsive, and that they are treated with dignity and respect. The following points are considered to be indicators of quality care:

  1. Do staff speak with them in a way the they like?
  2. Is there a happy atmosphere?
  3. Are those living there, particularly in communal areas, engaged in activities or chatting during your visit?
  4. Is there information about or pictures of social events?
  5. What activities does the Home offer for those individuals who wish to remain in their rooms?
  6. Are people appropriately dressed?
  7. Do they seem alert and interested?
  8. Do people talk to you as you walk round?
  9. Can individuals go to their rooms when they wish to be alone?
  10. Do staff respect people's right to privacy and knock on bedroom doors?
  11. Do people have the option for regular religious or faith services?
  12. Will friends or family be able to visit easily?
  13. Is there a trial period?
  14. What happens if a person's condition deteriorates?



Building and Equipment
  1. Is the Home well presented in terms of cleanliness, tidiness, decor and furnishings?
  2. Is the Home free from unpleasant odours?
  3. Is there a TV or radio left on even on when no one is watching or listening?
  4. Is there more than one room where residents can sit or where they can be quiet or see visitors?
  5. Are the living areas bright and stimulating?
  6. Is the garden accessible, user friendly for the elderly and safe?
  7. If a person uses equipment or adaptations, are corridors and toilets wide enough for a walking frame or wheelchair?
  8. Are residents encouraged to bring in some of their own furniture and possessions?



  1. Are special diets catered for and are residents' likes and dislikes taken into account?
  2. Can residents eat in their rooms, or eat at different times, if they prefer?
  3. Are there facilities for making snacks if a resident feels peckish?
  4. Are staff trained to sensitively help people eat their food, if necessary?



  1. During what times are visitors allowed?
  2. Are there quiet areas where relatives can spend time with residents?
  3. Are visitors encouraged to take residents out, or join them for a meal?



  1. Does the Home provide personalised activities that are suitable and engaging for residents?
  2. Are there opportunities for residents to help staff with small tasks if they wish?
  3. Are activities available each day or are residents left to sit in front of the TV?
  4. Are trips and outings organised and special events celebrated?
  5. Are residents encouraged to take exercise?
  6. Are residents able to choose and listen to a variety of music when they feel able?



Cultural differences
  1. Are staff interested in learning about the person's background and culture?
  2. Do staff show a respect for differences that might involve diet, clothing or religious observances?
  3. Do staff find out how residents wish to be addressed and how they prefer to relate to other people?



  1. What training do the staff receive?
  2. Do they make time to sit and chat to residents or talk to them while they are helping them with physical tasks?
  3. Is knowledge and evidence displayed of staff training?
  4. Do they know about residents' backgrounds, habits and interests?
  5. What are the staffing ratios? Ask to see the staffing rotation.
  6. Are the staff attentive and polite?
  7. Are the staff well presented?



Administration / Head of home
  1. Do they answer your questions openly and seem to understand your concerns?
  2. Does each resident have a care plan and are their needs regularly reviewed?
  3. Is there a complaints procedure?
  4. What is included in the fee, what may be charged as 'extras'?
  5. How much notice has to be given on either side?


Above all, use your head and heart - you will get a feel for a place the moment you walk through the door.







Fircroft Services Limited would be delighted to provide you with information on a confidential basis, either for yourself, a friend or a family member. We recognise that looking for a Care Home can be an upsetting and confusing task and we are happy to support you where possible. We are here to assist both with care elements as well as guidance on fees and funding issues.










If your local authority is assisting with funding, it doesn't mean you have to choose one of their homes. Visit this section to know about sources of funding