Finding a care home: Tips and advice

Featured article - 26 August 2021
By Will Donnelly, CEO of Lottie, which offers support to care-seekers

Will Donnelly, CEO of Lottie, which offers support to care-seekers

Choosing a care home for a loved one is an extremely important decision, if not one of the most important decisions a family member will ever make. Why? Because a bad care decision can not only be an expensive and a permanent mistake, but it can also be life threatening.

Yet finding a care home today remains to be time-consuming and highly stressful. This is because most first-time care choices take place following a sudden illness, injury, or loss of carer, meaning complex decisions are often made urgently and under extremely distressing circumstances.

And, unsurprisingly, most care seekers (aka the average person) know nothing about the care home industry, let alone what makes a good elderly care home. Why would they? Care homes probably aren’t at the top of the holiday reading list…

And despite living in a digital world where Zoom is the now norm and you can have your groceries delivered in under 10 minutes, care seekers are still unable to make a quick and informed care decision due to the sector’s longstanding barriers to entry, including:

  • A lack of online information and market transparency over pricing
  • Non-compliance with basic consumer protection laws
  • No possibility to get real reviews and testimonials
  • Complicated contracts
  • A lack of bargaining power for fees
  • Outdated booking processes.

It’s no surprise that 44% of UK care seeker respondents told us that they regretted their care home decision.

The Importance of personalisation

Personalisation is very important in the care seeking process. Often it is the loved ones of the person going into care that actually search for a care home on their behalf but they should be involved in the decision making process.

The following factors should all be considered when looking for a care home for yourself or a loved one:

Care required

If personal care is all that is needed you will most likely need a residential care home but if there are specific medical conditions involved then a nursing home is most likely to be needed.


The person going into care will most likely prefer to be near their loved ones so that friends and family can easily come to visit or vice versa.


Care homes are expensive and it's important to make a budget based on what you can afford. There may be options to receive funding, but you may be self-funding some or all of the fees so make sure the costs align with what you can afford.

Care home ratings

Make sure to check the Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings for the care homes. This is the official health and social care regulator in England and will give you a good idea of the care provided, facilities and staff.

Customer reviews

You can also check reviews left online by others that have experienced the care home. You can check reviews on Google and Trustpilot, as well as directory sites.

What Lottie does

We’ve created Lottie to be a platform that not only empowers ‘care-seekers’, but also helps drive market transparency and care quality standards throughout the UK.

We help older people with the entire care-seeking process, from finding the perfect care home to negotiating fees and contracts. We promote homes that have been heavily vetted and selected by their team of care experts. We use the ‘Parent test’ – ie, would you be happy for your parents to move in? W’'re the first platform to make showing fees compulsory.

Like SCIE, we care about high standards of care and through digital innovation and only promoting high-quality care providers, we believe we can help drive sector standards and overall market transparency in the long-term.

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