Ten questions you may have before you visit a care home for the first time

Some relatives find that visiting their loved ones in a care home for the first time can be a daunting experience. But there is no need to be concerned. At CareChoice, we acknowledge the importance of community and we want to help create a space where residents feel connected to family and friends. You are always welcome to visit any of our six care homes in Cork, Dublin or Waterford. If you are unsure, you may call one of our nurses at the care home to speak about a visit. Here is some of our most helpful advice, which you may like to read before visiting a loved one in a nursing home.


What is the visitation protocol?

On arrival you will be asked to sign in and to sign out again when you leave.


When should I visit the care home?

We ask that visitors respect our residents’ privacy and routine. We advise that you avoid calling early in the morning, or at mealtimes (dinner is from 12.30pm- 1.30pm and tea is from 5pm-6pm). Our annual events are always a great time to visit, so do make sure you attend any festivities, such as birthdays and our famous summer parties!


Where will I go when I arrive?

You must sign in at reception and one of the nurses will direct you to where your relative is. Each of our homes has a different protocol for visiting family members, to protect residents’ privacy, especially during mealtimes. However, in most cases, you may expect to visit them in their room, the day room, the conservatory or other communal areas. We are always open to suggestions and would be happy to facilitate you if you would like to visit the chapel together. We also suggest, that you take a stroll in our gardens together and get some fresh air.


What should I talk about when I visit my relative?

It can be nice to give them updates on family news and recent events. You might like to bring in some recent photos of family members. Letting them know what is going on with everyone in the family or community can help to spark conversation and interaction.


What should I do during my visit to the care home?

We believe that visiting a relative at a care home should be no different to visiting them at home. You are more than welcome to play games, read together, or engage in other such activities.


What will they talk about?

At CareChoice we have a wide and varied activity programme, each one unique to each of our six care homes. Try to ask your relatives about their day, or what they have planned for the week ahead. If they have chosen not to get involved in the activities, you could help them to pick out something from the activity calendar that they might enjoy, or speak to a member of staff about an activity that could be included in future. You can get that month’s activity list from one of the nurses at the care home. We do however respect our resident’s wishes at all times and they will never be forced to participate in any activities that they do not enjoy.


Can I bring a pet to visit them?

We don’t just welcome human visitors, we also love visits from your pets! If you would like to arrange a visit from your furry friend for your relative, please speak to a member of staff. We ask that pets are house trained and well behaved so as not to upset the other residents. Our care homes also run a pet therapy programme, so even if you don’t have a furry friend of your own, you can still spend some time with our adorable pets during your visit.


Can we leave the care home?

Our residents are allowed to stay away with relatives overnight. However, you do need to let us know beforehand so that we know when the resident will be leaving, where they will be going, when we can expect them to return and what medicines we need to give them for their trip.


What should I bring with me to the care home?

As mentioned above, photos or pictures are always well-received. You may also bring gifts, such as music or books. If you are a friend, you should ring ahead first to see if the resident has any special dietary requirements. Some of our residents have health issues which requires us to monitor their food intake, or restrict consumption of certain food products. We are always happy to advise on what treats they may have.


How do I leave at the end of my visit?

At CareChoice, we understand that bringing a visit to a close can be difficult, especially if it is your first visit. We advise that you time your visit so that the resident has something to attend when you are leaving, for example, teatime or dinnertime. This always provides a welcome distraction that takes away any emphasis on your departure. You are always welcome to call by phone to see if your loved one has settled following your visit.


Read more about the top 5 ways that CareChoice is a home from home here.


If you would like to learn more about one of our CareChoice residences you can email us at;



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