Care homes often receive mixed media coverage, and like many industries, the mistakes and blunders make the news while the good ones carry on quietly doing a great job and being unsung heroes. Finding a good one for an elderly relative can be difficult depending on where you live. So with this in mind, let’s take a closer look at what you should look for in any choice of care home.

Does it Meet your Needs?

Care homes are geared toward different residents. If your relative requires palliative care, for example, then you should find one that caters to this.  This can be problematic as it may mean finding one that is out of your area and take time to travel to. Nonetheless, it is important you find one that can care for your relative and has the expertise to do so.

Is it Welcoming?

Care homes should be welcoming with friendly and qualified staff. When you view a care home, you should take a look at the residents and the staff. If the residents seem calm and looked after, and the staff are friendly and professional and can demonstrate they understand resident conditions, then this could be a good choice of care home for your relative. Some care homes in Hemel Hempstead are very good at palliative and dementia care, maintaining a calm environment and even have small animals to give residents a sense of purpose.

When you visit, ask if it follows best practice guidelines and go by your instincts.


An aspect you should look into is how easy it is to visit. Can you park at the home easily or is the carpark often full. Are their local shops and places of worship near to the home, and how wheelchair accessible is it? These factors are important, so try and ensure your choice of care home meets these requirements.

Day to Day

How the care home operates on a day to day level is very important. This will determine the quality of life for your relative. Key aspects to look at include:

  • Is there a resident call-bell system?
  • What security arrangements are in place?
  • Are residents able to choose the clothes they wear?
  • Do the bedrooms have storage?
  • Can residents bring their furniture and other belongings?
  • Are residents able to choose if they have a shower or bath and when to have it?
  • Are men and women living in the care home?
  • What are the arrangements for handling personal money?
  • Are residents able to determine their routine? Can they choose when to get up and what time they go to bed?
  • Are residents able to have their own room or bathroom?

These elements are the important ones to look at, and you should not rush this process.

Social Life

The better homes provide activities for residents and provide plenty of social areas. They also offer plenty of reading material and can watch TV in lounge areas and provide computers with an internet connection.

Some go the extra mile and provide social activities such as music and singing, and celebrations for special occasions.