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What happens once I have found a suitable care home?

Once you have found a suitable care home you will need to read and sign a contract to agree terms.   If you are fully funded by your local council the contract will be between them and the care home.  If you are funding the stay yourself, you will be signing the contract.  If there has been a top up fee agreed there will be two contracts, one for each of the parties responsible for making payment.  

Once you have your contract you should read it carefully to ensure you understand the terms you are agreeing to.  There are a few key area’s you should pay particular attention to.


The contract should make clear that any deposit is refundable.  It is usually the equivalent of 2-4 weeks stay.  This may considerably increase your first payment to the care home and will need to be factored into your budget.  

Additional costs

Look for additional costs, not included in the care home fee, such as meals, laundry, hairdressing, chiropody, Television and TV license.  This may also include paying for a staff member to accompany you to GP or hospital appointments.  Age UK report that self-funding residents are being asked to pay a ‘coronavirus bill’ to cover the cost of PPE and covering staff absences.   The contract should be absolutely clear about the fees payable and who is responsible for them.

Trial periods

Often a trial period of 6-8 weeks will be included within the care home contract.  This will give you the flexibility to end the contract with 7 days-notice for any reason.  It also gives the care home the flexibility to do the same if they feel they cannot provide the level of care you need.  The contract should be very clear about your right to a refund if this is the case.  


The contract should include a basic level of insurance which will protect your belongings, including money, against fire and theft.  If you have any particularly high value items, these may not be covered by the insurance limit, so you will be responsible for taking out additional insurance for these items.




Absences from the home

Hospital stays or pre-arranged holidays may mean you will be absent from the home for a period of time.   Your contract should include room reservation rights and how an absence may affect your fee.  

Notice of termination.

There should be a minimum of 28 days’ notice if you wish to end the contract with the care home, and visa versa.  You are likely to be liable for the care home fee during this period regardless of when you vacate the room.    

Charges made after death.

Care homes should not charge for accommodation following the death of a resident beyond a few days unless the representative has specifically asked for an extension.   Given that most fees are paid in advance, this should prompt a re-fund from the care provider.  

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