Finding a care home
The first step to getting access to long-term care services is for you to have an assessment of your care needs – a community care assessment.
Do your research
Your social worker or care manager should have information on local care homes, but it can really help to do some of your own research too.
All UK care homes are inspected regularly by health and social care services regulators. They compile public reports based on their visits.
You can use these reports to find out what a home is like, and what standard of care it provides:
- If you're in England, read reports by the Care Quality Commision
- In Scotland, read reports from the Care Inspectorate
- In Northern Ireland ask the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority
- In Wales it's the Care and Social Services Inspectorate
Other websites like carehome.co.uk have searchable databases and user feedback or recommendations.
As well as your particular care needs, it's worth thinking about:
Not all care homes that care for younger people are also registered to take people over 65. If you're under 65 and are concerned you might have to move when you get older, it's worth asking about this when you're looking around.
There aren’t that many places set up for younger people. And even fewer meet the specialist care needs of people with MS.
Leonard Cheshire Disability has care homes for younger disabled people. And in many of their homes there's a high proportion of residents with MS.
Visiting the home
Before you make a decision, visiting a home can give you the opportunity to look at what they offer, and talk with care staff, managers and residents. Many homes will let you have a meal there, or possibly stay overnight in order to get a feel for the home. You can visit homes more than once, if it helps you make a decision.
If you can’t visit the homes yourself, you could ask someone you trust and who knows what your needs are to do it for you.
Our booklet, Residential care and your options, has more information and a checklist of questions that you might want to consider.
Your right to choose
You do have some choice about which care home you live in. If you're paying all your own care home fees, the choice of which home to move to is up to you, although the care home will still have to decide if it can offer you a place.
However, if you choose a care home that is partly or fully funded by the local authority, the home must meet the council’s terms and conditions and the cost must be acceptable too.
Some local authorities have a list of preferred providers. If you choose a home that isn't on their list, you may still be able to live there as long as it:
- is suitable for your needs
- has a place for you
- and the cost is acceptable to your local authority.
Expressing your wishes
Some people who become severely affected by MS have trouble expressing their wishes. This can be because speech difficulties, fatigue or memory problems become a barrier to communication. Although this might never affect you, it's worth thinking about it in case it becomes an issue later on.
If you become unable to express your own wishes about the care you receive, the local authority should take into account the views expressed by your family, carers and close relatives.
If you've made a Lasting Power of Attorney (or Welfare Power of Attorney in Scotland), then your appointed person will make the decisions for you.
Read more about Powers of Attorney:
- in our booklet Support and planning ahead – for people severely affected by MS.
- on the government's pages about Powers of Attorney.
Campaign to improve social care
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