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How to choose a care home – from Healthwatch Lancashire

A guide for families to help them choose a care home for a relative has been produced by Healthwatch Lancashire with support from the Innovation Agency.

‘Choosing a care home: the Mum’s Test checklist’ is one of two new guides compiled using observations from Healthwatch’s Enter and View visits. The second guide, ‘The Mum’s Test: Good practice observations from Lancashire’s residential care and nursing home sector’, highlights best practice and is aimed at care home providers.

Healthwatch Lancashire carried out an innovative 360 degree evaluation of its Enter and View programme through funding provided by the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast. 

The evaluation focussed on whether the Enter and View visits achieved the aim of providing insight into the views of people living in care homes across Lancashire, maintaining the programme’s philosophy of being inclusive and providing independent, constructive feedback that supports service improvement.

Since starting in September 2015, Healthwatch Lancashire’s Care Home Sector Enter and View programme has not only supported service improvement in care homes, but has also improved its mechanisms for sharing intelligence with local NHS and local authority adult social care teams. 

In addition, Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection managers have commended the programme, stating that its innovative approach adds value to their local inspections. 

The programme is designed to provide the public with a lay person’s perspective of the care home sector in Lancashire. 

Innovation Agency Chief Executive Dr Liz Mear said: “Care homes are an important part of the health system and the aim of the work we carried out with Healthwatch is two-fold; to help families find the best care for their relatives; and to drive up standards in the quality and safety of services for some of the more vulnerable people in our community.”

Sheralee Turner-Birchall, Chief Executive at Healthwatch Lancashire, said: “Healthwatch Lancashire contributes considerable value into the health and social care system by gathering patients’, service users’ and relatives’ input into the way services are run. This can be invaluable as sometimes seeing services from their point of view opens up real opportunities for improvement that may not have already been considered.

“Our innovative 360 degree impact assessment has enabled us to take stock of how we are helping to make a difference for service users and, as a result, these two new Mum’s Test documents will be really useful for people seeking a care home for themselves or a loved one, or organisations wishing to improve their provision of care.”

Choosing a Care Home: The ‘Mum’s Test’ Checklist and The Mum’s Test: Good Practice Observations from Lancashire’s Residential Care & Nursing Home Sector are available to read and download on the Healthwatch Lancashire website at


Further information from: Caroline Kenyon on 01772 520280 / 07950 866394

Notes to Editors:

About the Innovation Agency

The Innovation Agency covers Cheshire, Merseyside, South Cumbria and Lancashire, serving a population of around four million residents. 

We are one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks, set up by NHS England to accelerate the spread of innovation, improve the health of local communities and generate economic growth. We work as catalysts for change through collaborations between health care, businesses, local authorities, academia and the third sector, to spread innovation and best practice. 

Healthwatch Lancashire

Healthwatch Lancashire is a public voice on health and social care with the role to listen and the power to significantly influence change within the health and social care system. 

Healthwatch Lancashire gives children, young people and adults a powerful voice – making sure their views and experiences are heard by those who run, plan and regulate health and social care services in Lancashire.

Healthwatch Lancashire is one of 150 local Healthwatch organisations which, together with Healthwatch England, make up the Healthwatch Network across the country. Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen also have local Healthwatch organisations

  • For more information please contact Sam Parker, Healthwatch Communications Officer on 01524 239100 or email

Twitter: @HW_Lancashire

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