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Moving to a care home

Moving into a care home is a major decision to take.  This page briefly explains the initial steps you need to take if you are considering a care home, and which organisations can offer help and advice.

The information is intended for older people.  If you have a physical disability, a learning disability or a mental health problem, please follow the appropriate link. 


If you are having difficulty coping at home due to old age, there are an increasing number of services available to help you continue living safely and independently at home, before you consider moving into a care home.   Many different organisations offer a wide range of services - for example, personal care, preparing meals, cleaning and carrying out small repairs.

Many people also find that a short break in a care home enables them to continue living independently at home, avoiding the need to live in a care home long-term.  In addition to having a break away from home, the experience of a short stay in a care home also helps them to make a better decision about requesting permanent care, should the need arise. These breaks also offer respite to carers.

Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing and the NHS in Cornwall have a range of schemes across the county to reduce the need for people to enter permanent care.  Some of the schemes include extra help from therapists in the community; help from trained workers to enable you to cope safely with daily living tasks; and care for people leaving hospital, who may not feel confident about returning home straightaway.

To find out more about alternatives to residential care, you can:

If you do not need help with care home fees

If you are confident that you will not need help with care home fees, you can arrange your move directly with the care home of your choice, with no involvement from Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing. Nevertheless, you do have a right to ask Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing to carry out an assessment of your needs, and to help you with your placement if you choose.

There is a wide range of information on this subject on our Residential care for adults page.

If you subsequently find that you do need help with fees, it is still possible to get help from Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing.  We will, however, do an assessment of your needs before we can help with funding.

If you think you will need help to meet the cost of a care home, either now or in the future, you (or someone acting on your behalf) should contact Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing's Access Service on 0300 1234 131.  If you are in hospital, the nursing staff will contact Adult Care and Support for you, with your permission.

Once you have contacted us, we will arrange for someone to carry out an assessment of your needs, discuss your situation with you, and help you decide whether moving to a care home, or other options, are more appropriate. During this discussion, you can always have the person who looks after you (your carer), a relative, or a friend to support you, if you wish. 

It is important to note that in a minority of cases, a person's assessed needs may not be sufficient to warrant a move to residential care.

If your assessment by Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing shows that moving into a care home is the most appropriate form of care for you, and that you will need help to pay the fees, it is likely that you will also be required to make a contribution to these fees.

To advise you on how much your contribution will be, trained staff carry out an assessment of your financial circumstances, which will take into account your income, capital and property you may own. All information is treated confidentially, and staff will explain the procedure to you, and answer any questions you may have.

If you take up a place in a care home with financial assistance from Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing, the suitability of your placement and the quality of your care will be reviewed regularly by Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing staff, or someone working on our behalf. 

For more information please see our page about Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing financial assessment for residential or nursing care.

Yes.  Every effort will be made to offer you a place in the home of your choice. You can go into your preferred home as long as:-

  • it is suitable for the needs identified in your assessment
  • there is a place for you in the home
  • the home accepts the standard Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing terms and conditions
  • the fees are appropriate to the level of care you need

If you want to enter a home that is more expensive than Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing's standard terms, a top-up from a third party may be required if a suitable placement within our usual fee level cannot be identified locally.  Your social worker will explain this to you in more detail.  Please ask, if you have any concerns about this, or any other matter. 

If you want to go into a home outside Cornwall to be near relatives or friends, you will still need to contact Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing in Cornwall, who would be responsible for sorting out the arrangements for you, including any help with your fees. 

Yes.  The Care Quality Commission regulates all health and social care services in England and provides information on the quality of care services, including care homes and care homes with nursing.

The National Contact Centre should be your first point of contact for information about care homes in Cornwall:

Tel:  03000 616 161
Website: Care Quality Commission.

The following organisations may offer further help and advice. 

  • Age UK Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly - provide free advice for older people and their carers, for example on health, community care services, housing, transport, heating etc. 
  • British Red Cross  offer short-term help at home, following discharge from hospital; support and practical help to people faced with an unexpected crisis (accident or illness); transport service. You can contact them at:
    Red Cross House
    Lighterage Hill
    Truro, TR1 2XR
    Tel: 01872 267950
    Email: cornwall@redcross.org.uk
  • Care Quality Commission  inspects all residential and nursing homes in Cornwall, and produces an annual report on each home which is available to members of the public.  Also inspect all agencies providing personal and domestic care at home, nursing agencies and independent health care facilities.  Please look at their Directory of Care Homes and Care Services.
  • RightCareIndex and Care Choices produce directories, updated every year, giving details of residential and nursing homes. Copies are available free of charge from Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing - contact 0300 1234 131.

To find out more about who can have a service, if you have to pay, how to make a comment or complaint, what happens to your personal information, and other Adult Care, Health and Wellbeing information leaflets, please look at our Is there anything else I should know? page.

You can also download the 'moving to a care home' leaflet, containing the information above.

Return to Residential care for adults.

Adult social care

0300 1234 131