• 09 May 2019
  • 3 min read

How can I research whether a care home is well run and good to work for?

  • Liam Palmer
    Registered Home Manager

When applying for jobs, you want to ensure that the home you're applying for is a good place to work for. But how do you do this? Keep reading to find out.

Depending on how long the home has been established, the first place to look is their CQC inspection reports via the CQC website.

Just type in the name of the home.

You are looking for reports with a CQC rating of at least “good” and no significant problems.

The date of the report is important. If the rating is “requires improvement” that may be cause for concern, however, context is important; if the problems were highlighted a year ago and there has been no subsequent revisit from the CQC, it may suggest things have settled.

The historical reports are a useful barometer of the stability of the home.

Another place to look is the review site www.carehome.co.uk. This site allows people to review the service.

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It is a good tool but the provider can use it exclusively for marketing – i.e. soliciting only positive feedback, so the findings should be tempered with that in mind.

However, if there are detailed and genuine sounding relatives talking about how good and attentive the staff are, there is a strong possibility the feedback is genuine.

Some places to look online are employee review sites e.g. the website “glass-door” and other job sites where they allow employees to rate the employer.

Limitations here can be generalisms about jobs – carers may complain of long hours and low pay for example but this is not an issue exclusive to one care provider.

It is still worth a look to compare the different ratings – at the very least, it is a benchmark.

Also, consider how well a home is run / their culture as an employer.

This is more subjective with no absolutes but the following may get you thinking objectively; how long has the home manager been there?

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Is there a churn with home managers? If more than a couple have left in the last 2 years, that’s a sign of some difficulty. The same applies to the deputy role.

Do they use many agency hours – especially carer hours?

If they do – it may relate to problems with attrition/mask quality problems. There is not a definite link but high usage of agency carers over a long time often suggests a problem.

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Other general barometers are the level of engagement between with the manager and team; do staff smile or look withdrawn/ignore them when you walk around?

Is the home clean and fresh – does it seem that staff care about the environment?

Does the food appear to be of a high standard – are people living there enjoying themselves, smiling?

Is there a comfortable familiarity between the staff and residents or does it feel like an institution – your feeling and sense will confirm this when you look around.

If residents or staff seem bored or withdrawn, beware. It may still be a good place to work but it may not be a happy place to work.

It depends on what is most important to you.

About the author

  • Liam Palmer
    Registered Home Manager

Liam Palmer is the author of 2 books on raising quality standards in care homes through developing leadership skills. The 2nd is called "Leadership Secrets of Care Home Managers” inspired by several meetings with the Chief Inspector of the regulator, the CQC. Liam has been fortunate to work as a senior manager across many healthcare brands including a large private hospital, a large retirement village and medium to large care homes in the private sector and 3rd sector.

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  • Liam Palmer
    Registered Home Manager

About the author

  • Liam Palmer
    Registered Home Manager

Liam Palmer is the author of 2 books on raising quality standards in care homes through developing leadership skills. The 2nd is called "Leadership Secrets of Care Home Managers” inspired by several meetings with the Chief Inspector of the regulator, the CQC. Liam has been fortunate to work as a senior manager across many healthcare brands including a large private hospital, a large retirement village and medium to large care homes in the private sector and 3rd sector.