‘Try Before You Buy’ At Care Homes

People choosing a care home for their loved ones might be best placed to judge the quality of the establishment by having a meal there, a charity said.

Publishing a new guide to choosing a care home, Counsel and Care advised that eating a meal at the care home was important in deciding whether the facilities provided were up to scratch.

The charity also advised that elderly people should stay over for a night before they decide whether it is somewhere they would feel comfortable living.

“For most people, meals are very important – the food, the company and the atmosphere,” the guide says. “The food should be sufficient, varied, appealing, wholesome and nutritious. There should be snacks and drinks available to you whenever possible.”

It added: “You should be offered the opportunity to visit the home, stay for a meal, see your room, or even stay for a night before you make the decision to move in.”

Other factors that should be considered were privacy, the standard of communal rooms and the quality of laundry service.

The guide’s author, consultant John Burton, said: “If residents, their families and friends are clear about what they have a right to expect from their care home, they’ll feel more confident about asking for it.

“This is how care homes improve and maintain high standards.”

As well as having a meal allowing people to judge the quality of the home, staying overnight means that the family can have time to properly think about their decision.