What can you expect from a good care home?

Page last updated: 2 June 2023

Finding out what a good care home looks like can help you to make choices about your care. It can also help you understand what you should be able to expect from a service you already use.

When we inspect care homes, there are five questions we ask.

In a good care home, you can expect to be safe because…

The home and any equipment are well maintained and managers look for ways to improve safety. You should feel confident that your belongings are safe and secure.

There are always enough staff on duty with the skills needed to make sure you are safe.

You are protected from being bullied, harassed, harmed or abused. Abuse includes neglect and financial abuse.

Staff deal with incidents and accidents quickly and openly (and investigate them if necessary) and they learn from mistakes.

You feel safe and protected by staff, but you also have as much freedom as possible to do the things you want to do – regardless of your disability or other needs.

Staff give you your medicine safely and store it correctly. Where possible, the home involves you in reviewing your medicines and supports you to be as independent as possible.

The home is kept clean and hygienic to prevent any risk of infection to you or other residents.

You can expect a good care home to be effective because…

You are regularly asked for your views about the quality and choice of the food and other aspects of the home, and your feedback is consistently good.

Staff make sure you get the right food and drink you need, and that you have enough of it.

Staff have the right knowledge, qualifications and skills to carry out their role so that you have a good quality of life.

You are always asked to give your consent (permission) to your care, treatment and support in a way you can understand. Where appropriate, your family and friends are also involved in decisions about your care.

Staff know about your health needs and personal preferences and give you as much choice and control as possible.

Staff speak with health and social care professionals, such as GPs, and take the right action at the right time to keep you in good health.

You are asked for your likes and needs when the home is adapted or decorated. Any changes to the home are made to help you to be as independent as possible.

You can expect a good care home to be caring because…

Staff know about your background, likes, hopes and needs. This includes any needs you have because of your age, disability, sex (gender), gender identity, race, religion or belief, or sexuality (whether you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual).

You are encouraged to express your views, no matter how complex your needs are.

You have access to advocates (people who can speak on your behalf).

Staff also know your wishes for your care at the end of your life, if this applies.

Staff treat you with dignity and respect. They spend time with you, develop trusting relationships and are concerned for your wellbeing.

You have enough privacy.

Your family and friends can visit you.

You can expect a good care home to be responsive to your needs because…

Your care, treatment and support are set out in a written plan that describes what staff need to do to make sure that you receive personalised care.

You, and your family and friends where appropriate, are actively involved in developing this plan. For example, you should be able to have a choice about who provides you with personal care, such as help with washing and dressing.

As your needs and preferences change, your plan is changed, and all those who need to know, such as your care staff, are kept up to date.

The plan includes information about the whole of your life, including your goals, your abilities and how you want to manage your health. You may also have a health action plan.

Staff work hard to prevent you from feeling lonely. They do this by helping you to keep in contact with your family and friends.

Staff also help you keep up your hobbies and get involved in the community if you want to.

If you need to visit hospital, staff plan this well with you to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.

If you have any concerns and complaints, staff always take them seriously, investigate them thoroughly and respond to them in good time.

You can expect a good care home to be well-led because…

You know who the manager is, and anyone else in charge.

Managers know what their responsibilities are and are always honest, including when things go wrong.

Staff know what is expected of them and are happy in their work.

Managers are available to support their staff.

Staff have the confidence to report concerns about the care that colleagues, carers and other professionals give. When this happens they are supported and their concerns are thoroughly investigated.