Understanding the difference between care and nursing homes

Choosing the right care home for your loved one can be difficult and challenging, as well as all the emotional issues to deal with, wading through the jargon and understanding new terminology can be frustrating. When searching for a home you’ll come across lots of different types of care homes with different facilities and levels of care. Our blog will go some way to explaining the differences between these, in particular a residential care home and a nursing home.

There are two types of care home:

  • Residential homes
  • Nursing homes

Both provide 24-hour support, however, nursing homes have registered nurses on site 24 hours a day meaning nursing homes are typically utilised by residents that require regular medical attention or experience severe physical disabilities. This means that the cost of a nursing home can be considerably more than the cost of a residential care home.

Residential care homes

Care home residents will have their own bedroom which usually has an en-suite toilet and shower, they will be able to personalise their own space with pictures, photographs and items that are meaningful to them. Communal areas such as lounges, dining rooms, assisted bathrooms and outside spaces are shared with other residents. Care homes may be large with over 100 residents, or small, perhaps with only ten or twenty people. Larger homes will benefit from additional facilities and may even have their own pub, cinema, café, music room or shop. Small homes will be quieter with a home-from-home feel and the opportunity to get to know other residents and staff well. Most residential care homes provide a variety of daily activities and trips out supported by specialist activity staff.

A residential care home is staffed by Carers led by a Home Manager, who provide round the clock care and support for their residents. This includes help with day-to-day activities such as:

  • Getting in and out of bed safely
  • Getting dressed, washing and personal care
  • Using the toilet and taking a bath
  • Getting around the home safely
  • Providing nutritious and healthy meals
  • Stimulating and physical activities.

Carers can help people take their medication but if medical attention is required for complex wounds, sudden health issues or the administration of specialist medicine then a district nurse or local GP will be called to visit the home.

A residential care home will accommodate residents who are living with dementia, with some specialising in specific conditions. Some homes will have a secure unit to care for people living with the later stages of dementia, known as EMI homes or units (Elderly Mentally Infirm).  Staff will have received specialist in-depth training to help them care for people living with mental health issues or challenging behaviour.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes provide around-the-clock support for their residents; however, care is provided by a team of Registered Nurses supported by Care Assistants. This allows residents to be provided with expert medical care 24/7. With specialist medical care available, nursing homes are more suited to residents with long-term health issues and those requiring constant monitoring. Accommodation at a nursing home will be very similar to that of a residential care home with individual en-suite bedrooms and shared communal facilities.

Should your loved one require nursing they are most likely to already be under the care of medical professionals perhaps a social worker, GP or registered nurse. The manager of a nursing home will assess the needs of each person to ensure that they can cater for their needs, if they have been granted FNC (Funded nursing care) then they will be able to access care in a nursing home. FNC means the cost of their care will be partly funded by a contribution from the NHS towards the nursing costs.

Whether a person needs residential care or nursing care will depend on each individual situation, but key factors include:

  • Mobility, for example, if a person is bed-bound or requires hoisting to move from a bed to a chair
  • Complex medical conditions that require the specialist knowledge of registered nurses
  • Medical conditions that require constant monitoring

Nursing homes offer all the benefits of care homes including access to social activities, facilities for residents to enjoy their favourite pastimes, close ties to local schools and education centres and support for residents to bring their own furniture or, in some homes, provision for bringing their pets.

Knowing when to think about a care or nursing home

It might be time to consider a care home for your loved one if;

  • They are struggling to live alone and require support around the clock
  • They have become increasingly frail and have reduced mobility as a result
  • They are feeling alone, isolated and struggling to cope following the death of a spouse or partner
  • They are at risk by living alone due to restricted mobility or ongoing ill health
  • They’ve had a hospital stay and require a short-term respite stay in a care home to assist with reablement
  • They suffer from a complex medical condition that requires observation and specialist medical support
  • They have been recommended for care home living after a needs assessment by their GP, social worker or hospital discharge team.

Remember to regularly check in with family members, especially those living alone, as they may not openly show signs of needing additional care and may be too frightened or ashamed to ask.

How to Decide If a Care Home Is Right for You

Choosing a care home for yourself or a family member is a difficult decision, but we strive to make the process as easy as possible. We would encourage you to visit our homes at any time of the day to get a feel for the home, meet the staff and other residents, we always welcome people with a cup of tea and opportunity to sample our wonderful catering.

Asking around locally and speaking to other families about their experiences of our homes is a great way to get feedback and ask questions about the home, you can also read reviews online at carehome.co.uk.

Our Family Caring for Yours

There are many factors involved in choosing a care home that is right for your family including location, facilities and level of care. At Country Court, whichever of our homes feels right for you or your family member, you can rest assured that our teams are professional, highly-qualified and committed to providing tailored care to every resident.

We maintain an open-door policy in all our homes and encourage family members and friends to drop in. Whether you’d like to familiarise yourself with a home or join a family member for mealtimes, we look forward to welcoming you to our Country Court family.

Get in touch today for more information on 01733 571 951, email us at careenquiries@countrycourtcare.com or request a brochure. You can also see a full list of our available homes here.

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