Organising residential care

Care homes and nursing homes

Most people will never need residential care, but those who do usually have to pay their own care costs. There is a range of ways to reduce the risk of needing costly care services, including:

There are many care homes across Cambridgeshire and all are different. Some may have hundreds of bedrooms and specialised areas for people with dementia. Others might house a few people with learning disabilities. Care and support services are not free. Most people will have to pay something towards their own care and some will have to pay for all the costs.

Find out more about paying for care.

An older person with a walking frame, with a hospital gown

If you will be paying for residential care you can choose whichever care home can meet your needs.

If we will be paying or contributing to your fees, the home you choose must:

  • meet the needs we identified during your assessment
  • follow our terms and conditions
  • cost less per week than our cap, unless someone else will be making top-up payments on your behalf

To find a care home which suits your need, think about:

  • location – is it in an area you like, countryside, or city, and is it convenient for friends and family to get to visit?
  • would you prefer a larger, busier home, where you can meet lots of people, or a smaller quieter home?
  • would you like a home with a structured day, or one which is more relaxed?
  • is it important to have your own room, and would you want an en suite?
  • what other things are important to you to be able to feel at home?

Drawing up a list of potential care homes

You can find out about care homes in your area by:

You can make a list of care homes which might meet your needs. You can contact care homes to find out more information and visit those which sound suitable.

All care homes must produce a brochure including details of facilities, and services.

Age UK has guides on Choosing the right care home and a factsheet on Finding, choosing and funding a care home

You can visit care homes to get a better feel for whether they are right for you. Some homes will let you stay all day, others will take people on a trial basis.
You could turn up unannounced to see what life is really like there.
Try to take a list of questions with you when you visit.
Age UK has produced a checklist of things to ask care homes. You can print this out and take it with you.

Some of the things you should look out for are:

  • what are your first impressions?
  • do residents look clean, and happy?
  • is the home clean, safe and spacious?
  • do bedrooms meet your needs?
  • are residents allowed to bring their own furniture and/or personal items?
  • can you choose when to get up and go to bed?
  • can they meet your dietary requirements?
  • what are communal areas like?
  • does the home organise trips out?
  • are staff friendly and welcoming, including the manager?

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, including about the level of care, the fees and if there is a waiting list. Try to visit a few care homes so you can compare them.
Please note - the cost of residential or nursing home care can increase each year.

It is important to check the quality of residential homes. Residential homes must meet national standards.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care services in England.
The CQC assesses whether care homes are:

  • safe
  • effective
  • caring
  • responsive
  • well-led

Inspection reports on are available online.

NHS Choices

NHS Choices has information on care agencies, care homes, nursing homes, Shared Lives and assisted living schemes. There are also links to the CQC reports.

Your Care Home Advisor

Your Care Home Advisor allows you to search for care homes, and find out how they are rated by the Care Quality Commission, NHS Choices, Your Care Rating, Food Standards Agency and the Health & Safety Executive.

Other care options for people with higher levels of care are:

Contact us

If you have any concerns about your care service, please contact your Key Worker.

If you do not have contact details for a Key Worker, you can contact adult services:

Telephone: 0345 045 5202

9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday