Please Call Us if you have any questions on 01903 235347

Looking for a Care Home

Looking for a Care home for yourself or a loved one can be a very daunting and stressful time. Not knowing what to look for, where to look, what to expect can lead to one going round and round in circles, especially considering the stories in the News.
We at Willett Lodge have put together this section to try and help make that decision more understandable.


Step 1

Finance: – This is a very sticky point!, but very important to look into.  It is important to know how care is going to be funded.  There are generally 5 methods of funding;

1 – Private – This is where your or your loved one will have to pay for their own care.  This normally is the case if you have assets worth over £23,250.00.  Please note it may be the case you have most or all your capital tied up in a property.  If this is the case there is nothing to worry about, your social worker would take care of this.
2 – Full Social Services Funded Care – This is where your local Social Services will fund your Care.  This would normally happen if you do not have any assets or very nominal value of assets.  Your Social Worker will be able to clarify if you meet this standard.
3 – Part Social Services Funded  Care – This is where 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.
5 – Continuing Healthcare (CHC)– This is where the Primary Care Trust (PCT)/ NHS pay for your care.  This would happen in exceptional circumstances, where your care needs meet their criteria.
This would be decided by a qualified Nurse, from the CHC department and 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.
We at Willett Lodge accept people using all methods of funding, let them be private, social services or continuing healthcare.
Step 2
Type of Home Required;- 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 – You would generally be recommended this home 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 Homes – You would generally be recommended this home 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 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) – You would generally be recommended this home 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 – You would generally be recommended this home 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.
At Willett Lodge we have people who have 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, ( Once on this site, navigate to Care homes, enter the borough you want a Care home in and the type of Care Home you need (nursing, dementia, etc).

Once you have done this you will get a list of all the Homes in that Borough which could potentially meet your or your loved one’s needs.
You will also find the home’s old and recent Inspection Reports. This is a very good read and it tell 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;
  •  How far is the home from public transport
  • Are there any local shops around
  • Ask if the home has a Lift
  • Ask if they cater for your dietary requirement
  • Ask if they provide care in a Clinical or Homely environment
  • Ask about Activities within the home for Residents
  • Does the home allow pets
  • Would you have 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 wifi 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 – Ask to have a look at the food menu and see if this meets your needs

5 – Ask 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. Any feedback would be much appreciated.