Helping families to choose the right care home

All smiles: Kathleen Parr and Joanne Ratcliffe at Laurel Villa's Rest Home on Tulketh Road, Ashton
All smiles: Kathleen Parr and Joanne Ratcliffe at Laurel Villa's Rest Home on Tulketh Road, Ashton
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On the final day of our series on care homes, Laura Wild reports on how to choose a care home and how to complain about one.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published a list of top tips to help families choose a care home.

The organisation registers all care homes and home care agencies.

Top tips

• The CQC’s chief inspector for adult social care, Andrea Sutcliffe, always uses ‘The Mum Test’ - Is a care home safe, caring, effective, responsive to people’s needs and well-led? In other words - is it good enough for my mum?

• Look for care homes and home care agencies where the staff involve people who use the services and their families and carers, and treat individuals with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

• Whether you are being cared for in your own home or in a residential setting the staff looking after you need to be skilled, kind and supportive. They should also be capable and confident in dealing with your particular needs. You should always feel that their support is helping you to live the life you want to.

• Residents should be treated as individuals with their likes and dislikes taken into account. Think about whether a home is close enough to family, friends and community facilities.

• Look at how well-led and managed a home is. What does it have in place to ensure that is delivers high quality care? Does it promote meaningful activity and connect the home with the community.

• If you or a loved one needs help with day-today care, you can contact your local council’s social services department. They will make an assessment of your needs and depending on circumstances may be able to help you access financial help.

How to complain

If you are unhappy with the care you have received from a care home, nursing home, home-care agency or other social care service, you should contact the service directly to make a complaint.

This gives them the chance to try and put things right for you.

Or you can choose to complain to your local council if they paid for the care. You can find the contact details of your local council by visiting the website at

Complaining can be a difficult experience.

If you are not happy with the outcome of your complaint or how it was dealt with, you can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate it.

This applies whether you pay for your own care or your local council pays for it.

The Local Government Ombudsman is a free, independent complaints service. If they decide that the care service has got things wrong, they can make recommendations to put things right.

You can contact the Local Government Ombudsman in the following ways.

• By phoning 0300 061 0614

• By texting ‘call back’, with your name and mobile number, to 0762 480 3014. Someone will then call you.

• By writing to:

Local Government Ombudsman

PO Box 4771

Coventry, CV4 0EH

You can also visit their website at