Residential Care Homes Checklist- Part II

This Residential Care Homes Checklist is Part II of the article on Residential Care Homes

Part I Gives some general guidelines on different types of care and funding.

Part II Is a practical checklist for you to refer to when visiting potential residential care homes.

Use this checklist when visiting different locations. Copy it and take it with you. It will prompt you to ask the key questions you need to rather than rely on memory

The list was produced by Sunrise Senior Living. who provide a very individualised approach to senior care in beautiful home-like environments it is an excellent benchmark to use.


Location is important. The person who is going into residential care could live some distance away from you. Do you want them to stay in their own area so friends can visit them, or is it more convenient for them to move closer to you? Other considerations:-

  • Is the home convenient for shops, transport, etc?
  • Do the surroundings suit you?
  • Is there somewhere you can sit outside?

First Impressions can tell you a lot. Try and create an opportunity to speak to some of the residents to see whether they like living there.

  • Did you receive a warm and friendly welcome?
  • Were refreshments offered during your visit?
  • Is the atmosphere homely and welcoming?
  • Is the home clean and pleasantly furnished?
  • Does the home smell pleasant?
  • Do residents seem happy and well cared for?
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  • Can the home offer care suitable for your needs?
  • How often will your care needs be reviewed?
  • Will the home be able to provide for any future needs?
  • Will you be involved in making care decisions?
  • Which Doctor can a resident see?
  • Are there visiting dentists and opticians?
  • How often does the hairdresser visit the home?
  • Can the home provide other services like chiropody, physiothereapy and occupational therapy, if required?
  • Does the home have assisted bathing facilities?
  • Can residents get up and go to bed when they want to?
  • What are agreed communication methods and frequency with relatives?

Residential Care Homes Checklist on

Communal Areas

  • Is there more than one room where residents can sit or see visitors?
  • Is there a quiet lounge without television?
  • Are there safe gardens?
  • Are there arrangements for people who wish to smoke?
  • Is there easy access for wheelchairs and walking frames?
  • Are there toilets within easy reach throughout the building?
  • Are there handrails in the toilets and corridors?


This is the only personal space your loved one will have, it needs to feel like home as much as possible.

  • Did you see the room that is available?
  • Can residents bring their own possessions/furniture?
  • Was it bright and well decorated?
  • Are en-suite facilities available?
  • Do bedrooms have a television?
  • Do bedrooms have a telephone point?
  • Can residents use a telephone in privacy?
  • Can residents lock their room?
  • Is there a lockable drawer or cabinet in the room?
  • Does each room have a call system?
  • Can residents keep pets?
  • Can you change rooms if you want to?

Residential Care Homes Checklist on Meals

  • Can residents eat when they want to?
  • Can meals be taken in a resident's bedroom?
  • Is there a choice of menu for each meal?
  • Can special diets be catered for?
  • Can residents make themselves a drink?
  • Are snacks available at all times?
  • Are copies of current menus available for you to see?
  • Are the menus rotated?
  • Does the chef consult the residents on preferences?
  • Can residents choose who they sit with when dining?
  • Can relatives and friends have a meal with you?
  • Are staff trained to help with resident eating?

Residential Care Homes Checklist on


  • Is there a weekly plan of activities and did you see an example?
  • Are residents consulted on their hobbies/interests?
  • Are special events, eg birthdays celebrated?
  • Are residents encouraged to take exercise?
  • Does the home take residents on outside trips?
  • Does the home have access to transport?
  • Is it possible to take part in outside activities?
  • Would the home help with transport to these?
  • Are daily newspapers available for residents?
  • Does the home have access to a library facility?
  • Can residents be taken to places of worship?
  • Can residents take part in the daily activities within the home, if they wish, eg gardening, cooking?
  • Is there a residents' committee?
  • Can relatives/friends help with activities?
  • Did you see any photographs of activities in the home?

Residential Care Homes Checklist on


  • Did you observe staff being friendly and caring towards residents?
  • Does each resident have a member of staff particularly responsible for their care?
  • Do staff look as though they've got time to spend with residents?
  • What training do staff receive?
  • How do staff get to know about a new resident's background, likes, dislikes?
  • Did you feel that individual needs and preferences could be met by the home when you visited?

Residential Care Homes Checklist on


  • Are visitors welcome at all times?
  • Can children visit?
  • Can visitors stay overnight ever?

Residential Care Homes Checklist on

General Matters

  • Was the home's Statement of Purpose made available?
  • Was the home's latest CQC (Care Quality Commission) inspection report available?
  • Can a trial stay be arranged?
  • Is there a waiting list?
  • Is there a complaints procedure?
  • What is included in the weekly fee?
  • What are charged as 'extras?'
  • Does the home insure a resident's personal possessions?

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