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Family run residential & dementia care homes for older people in & around the home counties
For general enquiries call 0333 234 1975

What to look for when selecting a care home

Some homes will provide care in more than one category.  B&M Care homes offer Residential Care and Dementia Care. Care homes can only provide care for the categories they have registration for and all homes have to comply with legislation. The regulatory body for England is The Care Quality Commission. Accessing their reports can be helpful in ascertaining the quality of care. 

B&M Care have produced a booklet that offers a guide to help you to better understand what to look for in dementia care. 'What Good Dementia Care Looks Like'.

The following points are considered to be indicators of quality care. We offer them to you here as a check-list to use when considering our homes or indeed any other home.

First impressions: 

  • Are the outside areas cared for and well presented?
  • Are you greeted in a friendly way when you arrive?
  • Is the atmosphere homely and welcoming?
  • Is the home clean, tidy?
  • Does the home have pleasant decor and furnishings?
  • Are there any unpleasant smells?
  • is knowledge displayed in terms of books or journals and certificates of achievements?

People who live in the home:

  • Are people in their care chatting and involved in activities?
  • Are people in their care properly dressed and well groomed?
  • Do the people in their care seem alert and interested?
  • Talk to other people in the home on your visit - are they happy?


  • Do the staff talk to you as you walk around?
  • Are the staff well presented?
  • Do staff speak to the people in their care in a way the person likes?
  • Do the staff appear to be focussed on their tasks rather than the people in their care?
  • Is there evidence of staff training, like certificates or achievement?
  • Are key workers allocated?


  • Is there pleasant decor and furnishings?
  • Are you able to bring your own items of furniture and personal belongings into the home?
  • Do staff respect privacy by knocking on bedroom doors?



  • Are special diets catered for and is there a choice at mealtimes? Can you see the current menu?
  • Can the people in their care eat in their own rooms and at different times if they prefer?
  • Can people in their care snack at any time if they wish?
  • Are staff trained to sensitively assist people to eat if necessary?

Main living areas:

  • Is there a TV or radio left on when no one is watching or listening?
  • Are chairs arranged in groups to encourage social interaction rather than placed in a circle round the outside of the room?
  • Is there private or quiet places for families to visit?


  • What opportunities are there for people to pursue their chosen activities and interests?
  • Does the home provide tailored activities that are suitable and engaging for people who live with a dementia?
  • Are there opportunities for people to help staff with small tasks if they wish?
  • Are activities available each day?
  • Are people encouraged to take exercise?
  • Are there outings and what does the home do in the community?
  • How does the home support cultural differences?

Person Centred Care:

  • What is the homes person centred care philosophy? Ask questions about it.
  • Is the home well 'sign posted' to assist residents who live with a dementia?
  • Does the home have a dementia care accreditation?
  • Ask how a persons care plan is put together. It should summarise how staff can encourage and maintain the unique strengths of the person while meeting his or her own needs for support. This should be reviewed regularly. 

Safety & Security:

  • What security measures are in place to keep people safe?
  • What measures are taken to reduce falls?
  • How might people in their care call if they need help?


  • Are visitors welcome anytime?
  • Are visitors encouraged to take people out or join them for a meal?
  • Are families and friends supported to become involved in the life of the home - e.g. a relatives group?
  • What does the home do to support families of those who live with dementia? Workshops, seminars, focus groups etc.

Manager/Head of Home:

  • Is the manager friendly with staff, people in their care and families?
  • Are they open with answering your questions?
  • Are they knowledgeable about dementia?
  • Is the manager knowledgeable about care fees management, social services support?


Useful resources

References Kinwood,T. (1997) Dementia Reconsidered The Person Comes First. Open University Press: Basingstoke.