Choosing a residential care or nursing home

Once you have made the decision to move into a residential care or nursing home, you need to begin the process of choosing the right one for you. Information and advice on choosing the right residential care or nursing home for you is available below.

Your right to choose

Your local Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust can help you choose a home that meets your needs and, after a financial assessment, may contribute towards the cost.

You have the right to choose which home you live in. If your local HSC Trust is helping with your fees, you can still choose as long as:

  • your choice is suitable for your care needs
  • there is a place available
  • a contract can be agreed with the home to make sure you receive the support you need
  • the cost is not more than the local trust normally pays for someone with your assessed needs

Visiting residential care or nursing homes you are interested in

If possible, you should visit residential care or nursing homes that you are considering to make sure they meet your current and possible future needs.

You might like to have a checklist with you of points that are important to you in case you forget to ask something.

Your Trust can work with you to consider things like:

  • accessibility
  • having suitable equipment available such as handrails, hoists, adjustable baths and armchairs
  • staying with the same GP
  • your food and dietary needs
  • your religious or cultural needs

Talking to staff, residents and managers can help you get an idea of what living there might be like. You should feel able to visit more than once if you would like.

Finding the right residential care or nursing home

Finding the right home can take some time. If you have specific or complex care needs it can sometimes be difficult. Charities and organisations related to your specific disability might be able to offer advice about choosing a home.

There are few homes able to meet the needs of younger people with disabilities - your local Trust should be able to tell you about those in your area.

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) inspects all registered homes and writes a report on what they find. Reading the reports on the homes you are considering might help you make a choice.  You can get these from RQIA or the homes.

Minimum standards issued by the Department of Health state that care homes should offer trial stays. This may include the chance to meet staff, have a meal and an overnight stay.

When the residential care or nursing home you choose doesn't have a place

You can arrange to go into a different home while you wait for a place or arrange for services at your own home. If your local Trust is helping with costs, then they can help you with either of these options.

If you want to move to a residential care or nursing home in a different area

You may wish to move to a home in a different Trust area to the one where you currently live. This may be because you want to be near to relatives or the place where you grew up.

If you have been assessed as needing care and your Trust has agreed to pay for you, then it is responsible for your fees - even if you choose a home somewhere else. Under certain circumstances your local Trust may be able to pay the home fees if they are more expensive.

Choosing a residential care or nursing home for someone else

If the person you care for is not able to express their choice, the local Trust should take your preferences into account.

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.