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A quick guide to finding, choosing and paying for a care home

Author:Team BestCareCompare
Written on:12-Dec-2021

There may come a time in your life when you need to move into a care home. You may also choose to move into a care home, even if your local authority does not consider it to be absolutely necessary. Either way, it is important that you choose the right care home for you. It is also important to understand how much a care home will cost and how much you will have to pay towards the cost. Below is a simple guide to choosing and paying for a care home.

Step 1: Get a Care Needs Assessment

This is completely free of charge and is provided by your local council. An assessment will be made about your needs and recommendations for support will be made in a care plan. Depending on your needs the council could recommend help from a career, changes to your home to assist mobility or moving to a care home.

You can apply for a care needs assessment at the following locations :

(England & Wales) https://www.gov.uk/apply-needs-assessment-social-services

(Scotland) http://www.careinfoscotland.scot/find-my-council/

(Northern Ireland) http://online.hscni.net/hospitals/health-and-social-care-trusts/

(Rep of Ireland) https://www2.hse.ie/services/fair-deal-scheme/care-needs-assessment.html

Step 2: Get a Means Assessment

If you need to move to a care home then your local authority will look at your income, savings and property to determine how much you will have to pay. It is essential that you ensure you are claiming any benefits you are entitled to. This is because the local authority will include these in their assessment of your ability to pay for a care home. The means assessment will let you know how much the local council or NHS will contribute towards your care.

The value of any assets a person may have is taken into account and the asset value threshold is different across the UK and Ireland. The table below lists the total value of any assets you can own before you have to pay towards the cost of a care home.

LocationAsset Threshold
Northern Ireland£23,250
Republic of IrelandDifferent Rules Apply

The table below shows typical care home costs per week, depending on the service required, for one person in a single room.

For exact costs, speak to the care homes you are interested in. They will supply you with their list of prices and remember to ask what is included and what may be charged as an additional cost which is not included in the core weekly package.

Average Weekly Costs for Care Home care across the UK and Ireland
North East£603£752
North West£569£895
East Midlands£654£853
West Midlands£627£966
East of England£695£1075
South East£814£1070
South West£735£1066
Northern Ireland£534£699
Rep of Ireland€968€1564

Costs are for informational purposes only and will change from care home to care home.

Step 3: Choose a Care Home

You have the right to choose a care home but this needs to fit within your budget and should provide all the services identified in your means assessment. The home you choose must comply with the terms and conditions in your needs assessment. There are many things to consider when choosing a care home and this is why BestCareCompare.com provide detailed information on services, ratings and reviews to help you choose the right care home for you. The main elements that people consider when choosing a home are...

Residential/Personal Care v Nursing Care
The main difference between residential care homes and nursing care homes is that nursing care homes provide care for people who need support from a registered nurse. Your needs assessment should indicate whether you need personal care or nursing care. Some homes will provide both types of care.

Some Care Homes will specialise in the provision of certain types of care. For example, some homes will have specialist support for people with dementia.

Quality of Care
The Care Quality Commission provides ratings for all care homes in England. These ratings can be found at www.bestcarecompare.com. The Care Inspectorate also provides ratings for care homes in Scotland. All Care Homes in the UK (including Wales and Northern Ireland) are inspected regularly and the reports are published and available online. In addition to reading the inspection reports, you can read reviews from residents and their loved ones at www.bestcarecompare.com. It may seem obvious, but a good way to get a feel for a care home is to go and visit. It is easy to arrange a visit to a care home and contact details can be found at www.bestcarecompare.com.

Size and Style
Size can be an important factor when choosing a care home. Some people prefer small establishments whereas others prefer to be amongst a larger group of people. You can filter based on number of beds at www.bestcarecompare.com.

The location of the care home is obviously important, and most people will want to be near friends, family and loved ones. However, you may also want to consider how close the care home is to the local GP practice, hospital, pharmacy and other amenities. At BestCareCompare.com you can view the distance from each care home to a number of local facilities.

Once you have chosen a home that you will be comfortable living in, that will meet you care needs and is affordable, you can arrange to move in with the Care Home provider.


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