Accessing and Finding

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The Health and Social Care (HSC) Trusts are responsible for deciding on the most appropriate form of care for you based on your needs.

If you believe you need to move into residential or nursing care, you should contact your local Trust for a care assessment. If the Trust decides that you require residential or nursing care and you would prefer this instead of care in your own home, the Trust must:

  • Provide a place for you in a home
  • Pay the fees directly to the home
  • Recover any financial contribution due from you (if applicable)

It is possible in some cases to pay for services and the Trust to pay the balance.

If you want a place in a residential home and can afford to pay the fees yourself, you can contact the home directly and arrange for a place even if a social services care assessment decides that residential care is not required.

It should also be noted that HSC Trusts are not responsible for funding care homes fees if a care assessment decides that you do not need the service, regardless of your financial situation.


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Finding a Suitable Care Home

Care homes can be run by local Trusts, voluntary organizations or by private businesses.

You have the right to choose the care home into which you wish to move. A Trust may suggest a specific home, but if you do not like this home or have a particular home in mind, you can ask for a place in your preferred home. However, if a HSC Trust is paying for your fees, they will only be able to secure a place in your preferred home if it:

  • Has a place available
  • Is suitable for their care needs
  • It will enter into a contract with the Trust to ensure you receive the support you need
  • It does not cost any more than the local Trust would usually expect to pay for a person with those assessed needs

If your preferred care home does not have a place available, you can arrange to go to a different home or ask for services in your own home until a place is available.

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Helping You Choose

You know which home they want to move into from personal experience or recommendation. However, if you do not have a home in mind and are unsure of how to find one, the following may help:

  • Contact the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) for information about homes in the area. The RQIA has a list of all registered homes in Northern Ireland.
  • Contact local HSC Trusts for registered homes in that area.
  • Look in the yellow pages or local directory.
  • Search the Internet. A number of websites offer search for care homes including listing care homes available in a county or locality. These include:
You may find this factsheet from Age NI useful - Care homes, Finding the right care home.
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Moving to a Different Area

You may wish to move to a home that is in a different area to where you currently live to be closer to family or friends.

Once you have identified potential homes, contact them and ask for a brochure. If possible, visit these homes for a meal or trial stay and find out more about them by talking to staff and residents.

It may be useful to ask for an inspection report for these homes from the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) or the care home manager to find out information about how the home operates. These reports might just help you make a final choice.


Specific or complex needs

If you have specific or complex needs, charities or organisations that specialize in your particular disability or need may be able to help you with your choice.

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