Find and choose a care home

Care homes may be an option when you can no longer live independently in your own supported, extra care, or retirement housing. For people with a disability or mental health needs, care homes form part of a range of service options available in the market.

The Care Quality Commission website allows you to search by the type of care home you need, by name, or location.

Find a care home

Choosing the right care home

We suggest you always visit the care homes you're considering before making a final choice.

With the Kent Integrated Care Alliance (KICA) we have created a list of important things to consider when choosing a care home. A good care home has a number of equally important features such as they:

  • keep dignity in all aspects of care
  • have a caring, compassionate and competent workforce
  • hold the resident central to decisions
  • have a warm, clean and odour free environment
  • meet the food and drink needs of the individual
  • keep people safe from harm
  • offer a wide variety of activities that are tailored to the individual
  • are sensitively designed to cater for people's needs, this could be for dementia or accessibility for larger wheelchairs
  • are well run with a dedicated and visible manager
  • have excellent record keeping detailing people's health and wellbeing
  • know and understand the people in their care and deliver personalised care.

If you or the person you’re caring for are over 50, you might like to talk to a care navigator about your housing options before making a final decision.

You can take along Age UK's checklist of important things to ask the staff. You can often ask for a trial stay to see what you think.

The NHS also offer good advice about choosing the right care home. You will also need to think about how you will fund your stay in residential care. Find out more about paying for residential care.

Nursing homes and dementia care homes

These are homes which offer a higher level of personal care and may have a qualified nurse on duty at all times. They often have more staff than residential homes.

They are for people who are too frail or sick to live alone, but not ill enough to need hospital care.

If you have a disability, long-term illness or mental health condition, you might choose to go into a care home that includes specially trained staff or adapted facilities. Examples of specialist care homes include those that offer support with:

  • Parkinson’s disease care
  • Huntington’s disease care
  • palliative (end-of-life) or hospice care
  • dementia care
  • learning disability care.

Quality of care

If you want to understand the standard of care and quality of life you or your loved one will receive at a particular home, you can ask to see the care home's inspection report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). All care homes must be registered with the CQC. They regularly inspect homes to make sure they are meeting national standards.

You may also be interested in Healthwatch Kent, an independent organisation which champions the views of patients and social care users across Kent.