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If you feel that your care home, or that of your relative, does not, you can take action.
The standards that all care homes are expected to meet are detailed in the Care Homes Regulations 2001 and the Department of Health’s National Minimum Standards for Care Homes (see Useful links).
These standards cover every aspect of your experience of your care home. They guarantee your right to a clean and suitable physical environment, good food, choice of social and cultural activities and proper personal and nursing care.
Care homes are inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) (see Useful links). Any care home should provide you with a copy of their most recent CQC inspection report on request.
Before choosing a care home you should visit to look around and ask questions. Once you’ve decided on a care home it should offer a trial period.
When you make your choice your chosen home should draw up a care plan, setting out how they will meet your needs.
A clear written contract should also be drawn up. This sets out the price you'll pay for your place, and the services the home will provide. It should also make clear the services it won’t provide, and those for which you may have to pay extra, together with the terms and conditions and responsibilities of both parties. It should specify how you'll pay for the service, for example, by direct debit.
You should receive copies of the care plan and the contract.
The physical environment
Your care home should be clean, hygienic and safe. It should provide adequate space and facilities so that you're comfortable and can take part in activities of your choosing.
Your health: dignity and privacy
Your care home must provide you with proper personal or nursing care. Your physical and psychological health should be monitored, and appropriate action taken whenever necessary.
Care home routines governing food and day-to-day life should be flexible. You should be able to choose food and mealtimes, recreation and cultural activities, socialising and visits from relatives and religious observances.
The National Minimum Standards cover many aspects of life in a care home in detail. If you feel that your care home, or the care home of your relative, is not meeting one of the standards, you can take action to change this.
The first step is to tell staff at your care home. The sooner you do this, the better. Often, if you’re unhappy with something, it can easily be solved with an informal chat. Staff should be happy to talk about whatever is on your mind, and to do their best to help.
If that doesn’t work, speak to the manager of your care home. All homes are required by law to have a formal complaints procedure. This will probably involve putting your complaint in writing. (Help with doing that should be available if you need it.) If there is a resident’s committee at your home, you can take the matter to them as well.
If the care home's response doesn't satisfy you, you can take your complaint to the CQC. It is responsible for ensuring that all care homes in England meet the legal obligations. If it finds that your care home is not, it will take action.
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