Residential and nursing care homes

Questions to ask

When choosing a care home it's a good idea to visit the homes yourself, or to ask someone you know and trust to visit on your behalf.

You should always ask questions to get more information. This will help you decide which care home is best for your needs.

There are many things to think about, and some may be more important to you than others. The questions below may help you decide whether a care home is right for you.


  • Can the home be reached by relatives and friends to allow for early visiting?
  • Does the location suit my care needs?
  • Is the care home close to the sort of local facilities I want to use?


  • Does the care home feel homely and welcoming?
  • Do I like the look of the home?
  • Is it easily accessible and suitable for my mobility needs?
  • May I have a single room, or can I share if I wish?
  • May I bring own possessions and furniture into the care home to make my room feel like my own?
  • Is it too luxurious or too basic?
  • Is it too small or too big?
  • Is it clean?
  • Can I see their current inspection report?
  • Are there en-suite facilities – your own bathroom connected to the bedroom?

Personal needs:

  • May I use my room at any time of the day?
  • Can I have a television and radio in my room?
  • Will I have to pay for a TV licence?
  • Can I have my own telephone or is there a communal phone somewhere quiet and private?
  • How are my valuables kept safe and secure?
  • Do I need to have my own contents insurance?
  • Is there provision for keeping money safe?
  • What happens about getting to the shops or help to buy things like clothes or shoes?


  • Who manages and owns the care home?
  • Does the person in charge make me feel welcome and at home?
  • Are the staff friendly and do they talk to me?
  • Do the staff talk to the residents in an appropriate way?
  • How would I be addressed and how would I address staff?
  • Are there opportunities to socialise within and outside the care home if I wish?
  • Are resident meetings or forums held?
  • What facilities are there for receiving visitors?
  • Are there restrictions on when people can visit?
  • Can visitors stay overnight?

Personal care:

  • What personal care is provided?
  • What importance is placed on keeping residents as independent as possible?
  • What equipment is there to help with daily living?
  • How often can I have a bath or shower?
  • What would happen if I needed more assistance in the future?
  • Will my own doctor continue to visit me in the care home if I choose?
  • What happens about the administration of medications?
  • What happens about hospital outpatient visits, dental visits, chiropody and optical appointments?

Life in the home:

  • What is the general daily routine within the care home?
  • Do the residents seem happy?
  • Do the residents seem alert?
  • Is there a range of food menus from which to choose?
  • Does the care home cater for special dietary needs?
  • Do residents eat their meals in a communal dining area or in their own rooms?
  • Is there access to a hairdresser or other services, and are these an extra cost?


  • What activities are organised within the care home?
  • Will I be encouraged to follow my hobbies and interests?
  • Are outings and holidays arranged, and are these an extra cost?
  • Does the care home have a visiting library service?
  • Is there a garden and how accessible is it?
  • Can I be escorted on a enable trips out?
  • Will I be able to access religious services, activities or support groups?

Possible restrictions:

  • What restrictions apply to smoking?
  • Would I handle my own money?
  • Can I bring my dog, cat or other pets with me, or – if not – could they be brought in to visit?
  • Are there any other restrictions?