Covid-19: The latest updates from brighterkind - click here

Choosing a Nursing Home

nursing care at a brighterkind nursing home

Finding the right care home for yourself or a relative is often confusing and can be stressful, especially when you have more complex nursing care requirements.

Here is a quick guide to choosing a nursing care home and a handy downloadable checklist to print out and take with you when you visit the nursing home.

1. What sort of care do I need?

Typically, a healthcare professional such as someone in the hospital discharge team, occupational therapist or district nurse will let you know what type of care you need. However, a good care home manager will also be able to guide you based on your care requirements.

Nursing care is for residents with more complex healthcare needs such as an illness or disability, who require the supervision of fully qualified nurses. This might involve frequent medication regimes, wound care, constant assessment, monitoring and care planning.

Home Sweet homeMany care homes provide a mixture of nursing and residential care. The biggest difference between a residential care home and a residential care home with 24-hour specialist nursing care is that you will find more staff in a home with nursing care. This is because the residents require more regular support with their daily tasks and will often have more complex needs.

2. Create a shortlist of nursing homes to choose from

It’s normally a good idea to pull together a shortlist of nursing homes to visit. This can be done by asking friends and relatives about their own experiences of dealing with care homes in your area. You can also seek advice from health care and social care professionals.

Other sources to help you choose a nursing home near you include:

CQC Website (England and Wales)

CI Website (Scotland)

brighterkind website (England, Scotland and Jersey)

Nursing Home checklist[download our checklist here]

3. What to look for during your visit to a nursing home

The show round or visit is the most important way of being able to judge whether a nursing home is right for you.

We have created a handy checklist to take with you and a guide on what to look for when choosing a nursing home. You can download this for free, print it off at home, or just use it as an aid memoire during the visit.

It’s always worth going to more than one nursing home. Every home has its own personality and management style. You need to think about what’s important to the person who will be the resident and you as their relative or carer.For example, does the home offer a wide and varied activity programme, do they encourage residents to get out into the fresh air, what do the fees cover and where is the home located.

4. What’s the cost of the care and how to pay for care fees

Nursing home costs vary widely even within a small area. Homes will need to have a conversation with you about how you are funding your care. If you are paying some or all of the fees, you want to know that you are getting the right care, in a homely environment and you are happy with the team.

To help you understand how you might pay for care, you could use an independent organisation such as Symponia to find local professional advice from financial advisors who understand care fees and paying for care.


One of our values at brighterkind is to ‘keep it simple’ and the aim of this short guide is to do exactly that – to point you in the right direction to make the right choices to get the very best care available. What sort of care do you need? No two people are exactly the same and the type of care required will vary from one person to another as well as over time. If you are not 100% sure of what type care is needed this brief description of care types should help. You should also talk to your GP, social services or hospital discharge team who will also be able to provide you with good advice.

Our full Choosing a Care Home Guide is available here >