Care Community
3,860 members692 posts

Residential Nursing Homes

Hi all, I'm new to this an I was wondering if anyone could offer some advise.

My Mother currently lives on her own, she has carers support 4 times a day, but lately her mobility has become seriously restricted and has recently been hospitalised on a number of occasions.

We, the family, feel it is time that we consider Moms future support needs and as such we are looking into the possibility of a residential nursing home.

please could we get some advice around residential nursing homes, the process, costs, quality, etc.

We thank you in advance.

4 Replies

It's good that you are for your mother's future needs. I'm not familiar with the term residential nursing home. I assume it's a good way to distinguish between a nursing home for patients who stay for a short time following a hospital admission as opposed to what you're looking for, a place providing services where your mother will live for the rest of her life. The admission process is different in the UK. and the U.S. I'm guessing that you're in UK. Families are often advised to get literature from several nursing homes and make your first visit unannounced so you can see a little of their day to day operations.


Go and look at them all! Don't make an appointment, just turn up so you catch them unawares. Do residents seem happy, are they left sitting in wheelchairs for long periods, are they up, dressed and clean at a reasonable time of the day. Check what activities they are supposed to have AND THEN CHECK TO SEE IF THEY ACTUALLY HAPPEN - in my mother's nursing home they have a full programme but many of the things on it don't take place. Check if the staff interact with the residents - do they chat to them or just talk to each other. Go back again to the ones you prefer, at a different time of day. You can cheque the CQC rating for each one (but don't just go by that, I know that they aren't always a perfect indicator of what they are actually like).

1 like

Is your mum self-funding? It's often easier to find somewhere for your mum if she is funding herself. Do you have POA? It helps if you do. Also, is your mum agreeable to going in somewhere? My dad didn't want to go in anywhere but was in hospital for most of December and fell in the few hours he was back at home so was returned to hospital. It was easier for him to adjust to going in as he had been in hospital for so long and had forgotten his home (he has dementia). I had already seen three Homes when my mum was suffering with Alzheimer's so knew where I didn't want dad to go but was unsure if I had put him in the right Home as it was one with beds available just before Christmas. I didn't get chance to look around as don't live in the area. As he has been there for a few weeks now I am gradually relaxing and think he is in the right place. There is still a period of adjustment.

I hope you find somewhere suitable.


This is always a difficult decision for families to make and an full of emotional turmoil. The first thing is to understand your mum's wishes, is she willing to move into a residential home?

I would advise you request a needs assessment from the local authority, this way you will have an indication of what level of care is required going forward, as well as assessing the risks of her remaining at home and an understanding of her capacity to make a decision. She is entitled to an assessment regardless if she is self funding her care or not. They will be able to advise on the type of residential home; residential or nursing, as well as costs and what entitlement your mother has from the local authority.

I am a firm believer in planning where you can, and suggest looking at some homes once you have established what her needs are. Talk to her about what is important to her, for instance, nice grounds - view from window, does she like to see people come and go, does she like to watch wildlife - think about her home now and keep that in mind when searching.

Talk to friends and family in the area, you will be surprised how local networks are the font of knowledge and will be willing to share experiences of homes. Also, talk to her current carers, they often know of homes in the area.

Don't be swayed by the decor, some homes can look a little shabby around the door frames and corridors but it can't be helped in all cases, given the equipment being moved around.

When visiting, talk to other residents and their families, a good home will not have any issue with that. Sometimes it is wise to make an appointment so you get to talk to the right person, but suggest going back at another time unannounced. How do staff react to you when walking around and most importantly, observe how they are with residents when you are visiting. Do residents look clean and well cared for?

Check the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website inspection reports. Look for Good and Outstanding ratings. Some homes may state they require improvements, If you are uncertain, talk to the home about their report and what actions are they taking to make improvements in needed.

Check out any reviews on care home search websites and the homes website. Ensure they are recent posts.

Once you have narrowed it down, take your mum along to see the home, help her to feel in control where you can and part of the decision making. I have often taken people for lunch or afternoon tea or arranged regular visits which is a good way for your mum to familiarise herself with the home and they get to know her before she moves in.

Don't forget, nothing is set in stone, all homes have 4 - 6 weeks settling in time.

Check out terms and conditions and be clear what is included in the fees and what isn't. Usually you have to pay for incidentals such as hair dressers, podiatrists, newspapers etc

My own benchmark - how do you feel when leaving the home and walking away?

Good luck with next steps

As an aside, have you considered 24 hour Live in care?

1 like

You may also like...