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Choosing a Care Home

Like choosing any home, choosing a care home is a big decision. People often find themselves doing this in a hurry when there’s a health crisis, but it’s a good idea to think about what you’d like sooner rather than later and discuss this with your family or friends.


Step 1

Finance: – It is important to know how care is going to be funded.  There are generally 5 methods of funding;

  1. Private– You or your loved one may have to pay for their own care if you have assets worth over £23,250.00. If most or all your capital tied up in a property there is nothing to worry about, your social worker would take care of this.
  2. Full Social Services Funded Care – If you do not have any assets or very nominal value of assets, your local Social Services will fund your Care. Your Social Worker will be able to clarify, if you meet this standard. 
  3. Part Social Services Funded Care – Social Services will pay only part of the cost of your care and the remaining will have to be paid by yourself.  The amount you will have to pay will be decided by Social Services using a fixed formula.
  4. Social Services Plus Co-Payment – Co-payment is sometimes called Top-up.  This is where the Nursing home you like does not accept ‘Social Services Pay Rates for Care’, but you like the home and would like to stay there.  In this case the difference between the Home’s fees and that paid by Social services will be paid by yourself as a Top-up.

Social services rate for care is the fee Social Services have agreed to pay Local Nursing homes for using their Care facilities.

  1. Continuing Healthcare (CHC) – Primary Care Trust (PCT)/ NHS pay for your care. This would happen in exceptional circumstances, where your care needs meet their criteria and would be decided by a qualified Nurse, from the CHC department after completion of a DST (Decision Support Tool).

When looking for a Nursing home, it is very important to know how care would be funded as not all nursing homes accept people who are funded in full or part by social services.

Willett Lodge accepts residents using all methods of funding – private, social services or continuing healthcare.

Step 2

Type of Home – The next step is looking for the correct home for yourself or your loved one.  There are 4 different types of Care/Nursing homes.

  1. Residential Care Home– is recommended if you or your loved one has Low Dependency needs. This is where individuals generally need a safe environment to live in but can go around their daily lives, as they feel fit. In a Residential Home there would only be carers working 24 hours a day and no nurses.
  2. Residential Dementia Home – is recommended if you or your loved one has Dementia and/or similar diagnosis. You need a secure environment, as you may like to wonder out during the day or night. You may need prompts in performing daily tasks like eating, washing and dressing. In a residential Dementia home, you would have carers working 24 hours a day only and no nurse.
  3. Care Home with Nursing (Nursing Home)– is recommended if you or your loved one has needs which require 24 hours a day nurse’s intervention. This could be where you are very unstable, have wounds, which cannot be managed in a residential home; need hoisting all the time; are doubly incontinent. In a Nursing home you would have a registered nurse and carers 24 hours a day.
  4. Dementia Care Home with Nursing– is recommended if you or your loved one has Dementia and Nursing needs and need a safe and secure environment. In a Dementia Nursing Home you would have Nursing and carers 24 hours a day.

Willett Lodge has residents with Dementia Nursing needs AND just Nursing needs.

Step 3
Finding a Home;

When you have decided what type of Home you need, the next step is to find homes and pay them a visit. The best site to go to for finding a home is the “Care Quality Commission” website, ( Navigate to Care homes, enter the borough you want a Care home in and the type of Care Home you need (nursing, dementia, etc).

All the Homes in that Borough which could potentially meet your or your loved one’s needs are listed with Inspection Reports which informs you if the home is meeting the Care Quality Commission Standards.

Once you have shortlisted a few homes, the next step is to call them and see if they accept your mode of funding (private, social services, etc) and use the information provided by them to make your new updated shortlist of homes.


When making your list, factors to consider could be;

  • Distance of the home from public transport
  • Local shops around the area
  • If the home has a Lift
  • If they cater for your dietary requirement
  • If they provide care in a Clinical or Homely environment
  • Activities within the home for Residents
  • Does the home allow pets?
  • Is there access to the internet?
  • Are the external doors kept locked?
  • Are visiting hours restricted?
  • Is there a residents’ committee?
  • Do they have rooms available?

Willett Lodge provides a homely atmosphere and is Located close to shops and local transport.  We have a lift, which provides access to all main floors.  We cater for all dietary needs.  We have an established daily activities program and have Wi-Fi internet.  As a secure home, our exit doors are locked, but key codes can be provided to those who need it.  We have no restrictions on visiting hours and we have an active residents’ committee.

Step 4
Visiting Homes;

Once you have shortlisted the homes to view, the best way to move forward is to just go and visit, without informing the home. If you are travelling a long distance it would be advised to ask when the Manager would be at the home, so if you were to like the home and wanted some questions answered, this can be done straight away.

Points to look out for;

  1. Do you get a nice welcome when the front door is opened?
  2. Does the home smell?
  3. Are staff shouting or softly spoken?
  4. Have a look at the food menu and see if this meets your needs
  5. Request for a copy of the Service user Guide
  6. If you meet the manager, does he or she ask about your or your loved ones needs?
  7. Is the home decorated to your liking?
  8. Do you feel you or your loved one would be able to settle in with the other residents in the home?
  9. Ask about training available to staff
Step 5
The Decision

Once you have seen all the homes in your list and gathered the information you need, the best way to decide is to make a list of the facilities the home provides which are important to you. Use this information to make your final decision. Remember you can always go back for another visit.

Generally, the best homes will normally only have a few rooms available, so it is advisable not to wait too long to make your decision as it is very possible the room may be taken by someone else.


I hope the information provided has been of some use. Explore our wonderful dementia home for nursing and residential care near the Worthing seafront in West Sussex. We would love to show you around, so if you would like to know more, please give us a call.