Care homes


Important: consider these options first

Most people want to stay independent and enjoy living in their own home. And for the majority of us, this is possible by considering these options first:

  1. If your carer needs more support
  2. A small change or adaption to your home or equipment and gadgets can make a big difference and allow you to stay in your own home longer
  3. Consider an alternative to care homes like Shared Lives, Homeshare and other housing options 

But there may be a time when you can no longer manage to look after yourself at home.

If you make the decision to move into a care home, you need to begin the process of choosing the right one for you.  

Different types of care homes

Some care homes, called private homes, are run as businesses. These homes normally set no restrictions on admission apart from a person's suitability for care.

Other care homes are run by voluntary organisations that might set conditions for accepting residents, for example, people of a particular religion, or people who have served in the armed forces. 

  • residential care homes - these homes offer personal care to those who need high levels of support with daily activities and occasional help at night
  • nursing homes - these homes are for those who need 24 hour care including people who are terminally ill. Nursing homes employ qualified nursing staff who are available day and night
  • dual registered homes - some homes are registered as both a residential home and nursing care home. A wide range of services are provided at the setting. Residents who come to need a nursing care do not then have to transfer to another home
  • specialist homes - some homes specialise in caring for people specific needs. Such as dementia or mental health problems, or people with learning disabilities or multiple disabilities. Some homes are for those from a particular cultural, religious or professional background

Checking the quality of care homes

The Care Quality Commission inspects care homes, and gives them a rating to help you choose care. Use the map to search for rated care homes in your area, compare ratings and read inspection reports.

Arranging a move to a care home 

You can make your own arrangements to move into the home of your choice. We have produced a checklist for choosing a care home (PDF) which you may find useful when looking around potential homes.

It is important to think carefully about how long you will be able to afford to stay in the home of your choice. Have a look at our 'money and legal matters' section for advice.

Please have a conversation with us. Contact Social Care Direct by email or phone 020 8359 500.

We can only assist you if you qualify for support under the Government's rules, and if the care home is registered and prepared to enter into a contract with us.  We advise that you request an assessment of your needs before you make the final decision about entering a home, so that these issues can be discussed with you.

Who pays for your care?

This will depend on many factors including your health and your financial situation. A social care professional who assesses your needs will ask you to complete a residential financial declaration form and discuss your options with you. 

Financial Assessment

A financial assessment tells us how much you can afford to pay towards your care and support. It looks at your:

  • Income, for example pensions and benefits
  • Capital, like savings, investments and property

Before you can complete an online financial assessment you must have had your care needs assessed. If you have not already, apply to Social Care Direct to have a care needs assessment.

If you are ready, you can complete a financial assessment online.

Independent mental capacity advocate

If you lack the mental capacity to decide about moving into your care home, and you have no family or friends to support your decision, we will appoint an independent mental capacity advocate. This person's job is to speak on your behalf and represent your best interests when any decisions need to be made, in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

If you have appointed a Lasting Power of Attorney in relation to health and welfare decisions, this person must also be consulted.