Questions to Ask When Visiting a Prospective Care Home
September 30, 2020
It can be very overwhelming to tour a care home and know all the right things to ask. We have put together this list for you to take with you so that you can get as much information as possible when on a tour, and to ensure you make an educated decision on the home which is right for you or your loved one.


  • How often are the building and grounds maintained?
  • Are all the grounds accessible?
  • What are the views for all rooms? Are there different views available?


  • Is there temperature control for each room? How do you ensure the residents are comfortable
  • Is it easy for friends and family to visit the resident?


  • How many parking spaces are available for visitors?
  • What facilities are nearby and how often can residents visit them?
  • Is everything within the building and grounds wheelchair accessible?
  • Does the room have an en-suite bathroom facility with adequate mobility aids?


  • How do the staff get to know the residents and learn about their lives and experiences?
  • Is there a manager in post and a senior member of staff on duty at all times?
  • Is there a suitable ratio of staff to residents during the day, at night and at weekends?
  • Can residents choose if they have a male or female carer?
  • What standards of training do you practice in house and how often does this take place?
  • Are all staff able to provide dementia care?
  • What care qualifications do the staff have?
  • What is your staff turnover?


  • How do you agree to admit new residents and how do you safely admit them?
  • Do residents have a specific member of staff who is responsible for their wellbeing?

Meeting care needs:

  • How involved are families and residents in the care decisions?
  • What if my/my relatives needs worsen, how can you continue to care for me/them?
  • If needed, is there a staff member on hand to help residents go to the toilet?
  • Is there a policy on when incontinence pads and catheters are used?
  • What GP practice does the care home use?
  • How often to external health staff visit? i.e. chiropodists, physios etc.
  • How often are health check-ups given and who decides how often these are?
  • Is there are charge for taking residents to a hospital or external medical appointment?
  • Do you support sensory impairments and dementia?
  • Who is the point of contact if a resident is taken ill?
  • Do you offer end-of-life care?

Day to day considerations:

  • What systems are in place to keep residents safe?
  • What policies do you have in place if something goes missing? Are these items covered by the homes insurance?
  • Is there a call bell or buzzer system in each room?
  • Is there ample signage or wayfinding to help you find certain rooms and facilities?
  • How involved are residents in deciding their routine such as wake up, going to bed and eating times?
  • Can residents choose what they wear?
  • How do you ensure clothes do not get mixed up in the laundry?
  • Can residents decorate their rooms or bring their own furniture and belongings?
  • How secure are bedrooms and is there in bedroom storage?
  • What are the policies on handling a residents personal money and how is this handled?
  • Are all bathrooms private/en-suite or will the resident have to share a communal bathroom?
  • Is there a mix of female and male residents?


  • Can residents eat in their rooms? Are there communal dining areas?
  • Is there a choice of food and can you see sample menus? Do you have examples to show of standard of food?
  • How often does the menu change?
  • Are snacks available during the day or at night?
  • Is there an in-house chef or are meals brought in everyday?
  • If you have any dietary requirements, can the home cater to this?
  • Are there facilities to make your own drinks?
  • Are there fridge facilities in each room and are relatives allowed to store food?

Activities and daily life:

  • What regular activities and exercises do you encourage residents to do? Do you have an activity calendar?
  • Is there an activities co-ordinator?
  • Can I meet any residents?
  • Are there lounges or social areas with furniture arranged to allow small groups to socialise?
  • Do staff read to those with sight impairment?
  • Is there a pet policy within the home?
  • Are there facilities such as: a radio, reading room, TV room, newspapers, books or a mobile library, public phone, shared computers, internet reception and hairdressing services?
  • How often do you have outside entertainers visit the home?
  • Are there any restrictions on when someone can visit and how many visitors are allowed at any one time?
  • Can visitors stay overnight?
  • Are there facilities for children when visiting? Can children visit?
  • Aside from rooms, are there areas for people to visit?
  • Can visitors eat at the care home and with the residents?


  • Can I have a copy of the contract and terms and conditions?
  • Is there a trial period?
  • What is the complaints procedure?
  • Does the room remain the residents if they have to go to hospital?
  • Are notice conditions to terminate the contract reasonable?
  • What are the home’s fees? How are these structured, calculated and collected?
  • Is there a deposit or down-payment required?
  • Are fees reviewed each year and when was the last time they were raised?
  • If it’s a nursing home, how are NHS-funded nursing care payments accounted for in the fee structure?
  • What items are not covered by the fees?
  • Are there any fees or payments after the residents death?
  • How often do residents have the opportunity to give feedback?
  • How do you involve the resident families in the life at the home?

Things to note while visiting:

  • How does the home make you feel?
  • Did the staff make you feel welcome?
  • Does the home look clean and smell fresh? Were the rooms warm and inviting?
  • Was there lots of parking available for you on arrival?
  • Did you see the food and did it look healthy and appetising?
  • Did you see staff communicating with residents when you were there? Did they look like they were communication well?
  • Would you feel comfortable socialising in the home’s common areas?
  • Did the manager make you feel welcomed? Did they seem approachable?