Before you move in

If you can, it’s a good idea to think about how you will settle in to the care home before you actually move there. When you’re choosing a care home, try to visit and speak to residents and staff, to get an idea of what it’s like to live there. You could plan this or drop in unannounced. Or you might be able to stay for a trial period.

Ask plenty of questions about what it would be like to be a resident there, what you can bring with you, and how much freedom and flexibility you’ll have. You could even ask staff how they’d help you settle in.

After you move in

Take a few familiar comforts

A favourite photo or your comfy armchair can make things feel more familiar. Check what the care home will allow you to bring and make a list of a few things you’d like to take with you to help you feel at home.

Talk to staff about what you'd like

When you move in, staff will draw up a care plan for you, so make sure they know what you want. Maybe you’d like to take some meals in your room, or to listen to particular types of music.

Install a personal phone

This will give you another way to stay in touch with people and increase your sense of independence.

Make sure you know your way around

Whether or not you’re mobile, it could make you feel more settled if you know the layout of your new home. It might take you a while to remember where things are, but staff shouldn’t mind you asking.

Go to relatives and residents meetings

Lots of care homes offer these – they provide an opportunity for discussing problems and ideas. They’re open to residents, and to their friends, relatives and advocates. They’re a good way to get your opinion heard, and you may find you’re not alone in having a particular problem.

If something’s wrong

Hopefully, your transition to life in the care home will go smoothly, but if you have a problem or complaint, don’t be afraid to speak up. See our page Complaints about care and health services for more information.

Tell the Care Quality Commission about your care

If you've experienced poor care, or know that poor care is being provided somewhere, you can report it to the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which regulates health and social care. You can do this anonymously if you wish. You can also tell them when you feel you've received good care.

By providing the CQC with this information, you’ll help them improve the overall quality of care in England. You’ll also help the CQC in preventing poor care happening to others in the future. 

Order our free guide

Read our guide Settling into a care home for more information on how to feel at home in a care home. 

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