We will not be providing face-to-face advice or training for the foreseeable future. We will contact existing advice clients by phone. Our staff will continue to support our members and can be reached via telephone and email as usual.

We are working hard to move our training, where possible, to digital. For any queries, please contact our training team at [email protected]

We can only provide advice to people living in Northern Ireland. 

Helpline contact details:

Welfare Changes ring 0808 802 0020 or email [email protected]
Tax & Benefits ring 0800 988 2377 or email [email protected]
Business Debt ring 0800 083 8018 or email [email protected]
Debt Action ring 0800 028 1881 or email [email protected]
EU Settlement Scheme ring 0800 138 6545 or email [email protected]
For Historical Institutional Abuse advice and support call 02890 645919 email [email protected]

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Choosing the right care home is important and can be quite a daunting experience.

You should take time to compare different homes before you choose. We all have different ideas about what we want from a home, so you should research things that are important to you.

It is vital that you take time to find out about the general rules of the home. For example:

  • Will there be a contract?
  • What do the fees cover?
  • How do they handle complaints?
  • What will happen if your care needs change?

The following list may give you an idea of what your want to research or ask.

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A good home should provide a range of activities and maybe even day trips.

What activities are offered?

How often do activities take place?

Does the home have a garden?

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First impressions are important.

Is the residence homely?

Does it smell clean?

Do the residents look engaged and happy?

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Some homes will have private rooms in others people may need to share.

Are the bedrooms private?

Can you bring in your own furniture?

Can I entertain visitors?

Where do I secure my personal or valuable possessions?

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Care Facilities

A home must be able to meet all of your care needs.

Can the home meet all your needs as laid out in your care assessment?

Communication Needs

It is important that the resident can communicate with staff and other residents.

Does the home provide support in other languages?

Does the home provide support in sign language?

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Different homes will have different facilities so you will need to think about facilities that you need or would like. Does the home have, for example:

A lift?

A communal room?

A television room?

Internet access?

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Financial Considerations

The cost of a care home and your financial situation has to be considered.

How much will you have to pay for your care?

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It is important that resident’s feel empowered by being encouraged to do as much as possible for themselves or given choices.

Does the home have a residents’ committee?

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The immediate location of the home may be important. Where are the nearest:




Leisure centre?

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There are numerous issues regarding meals such as:

What choice of meals do the residents have?

When and where do the residents eat?

What are the eating/cooking facilities like?

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Some care homes may not allow pets.

What is the policy on pets?

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Registered Homes

Registered homes are required to meet certain standards which are set by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) inspects all registered homes to make sure that these Minimum Standards are met.

How highly does the care home score or rate with the inspectors?


You may want to go to a home that shares your religious beliefs or can accommodate your religious beliefs.

Are residents taken to and collected from their place of worship?

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It may be useful to observe staff.

Are they friendly and respectful to residents?

Do they spend time with individuals?

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Different homes will operate different visiting policies.

What are their visitors policies?

What are the visiting times?

Can guests stay overnight?

Please Note

You can print this list out and add your own questions. It will remind you about what to ask if you are contacting or visiting a care home.

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