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What is an EMI Unit in a Care Home?

A care home resident with Dementia being helped by a nurse

On your care home journey, you’re likely to come across many different terms and phrases that you may not be familiar with. One of these terms is EMI. So, what does EMI mean – and what is an EMI unit? Read on to find out all you need to know.  

What is EMI care?

EMI stands for Elderly Mentally Infirm and was commonly used to refer to care home residents who have Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. 

EMI individuals may have had dementia for a significant period of time, be especially frail, and experience more severe symptoms of the disease, including mental confusion, behavioural problems and hallucinations. 

EMI nursing homes, therefore, take care of these people and offer specialist support to ensure that they can live as comfortably as possible. 

The term EMI is actually a bit dated these days and you’re probably more likely to hear ‘dementia unit’ or ‘registered for dementia’ used instead.

Read more on dementia care here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/dementia/care-homes/

What is an EMI unit?

An EMI unit is a separate dementia unit or wing attached to a care home. EMI units are specifically for those with more advanced dementia and employ mental health staff round-the-clock to supervise the residents. 

Staff are specially trained to cope with the behavioural difficulties that someone with dementia may struggle with and can help to calm them if they become distressed or upset. 

EMI units are especially secure, to keep residents safe and prevent them from wandering off if they become disoriented.  

Residents in EMI units may have additional health conditions that require treatment, as well as dementia and other cognitive disorders. 

If you are visiting a care home with an EMI unit, you should be able to take a look around it during your visit. Some residential and nursing care homes have EMI beds available, too. 

Specialist dementia care

Care homes that have facilities or units specifically for those with dementia may offer different dementia-friendly facilities and services, including:

  • Reminiscence rooms containing familiar objects to help engage residents’ senses and memories
  • Specialist equipment like dementia tables, where residents can play games to stimulate their brains and enjoy social interaction with fellow residents
  • Sensory gardens to stimulate the senses, such as fragrant plants and herbs, brightly coloured flowers and activities like digging or cutting grass
  • Activities focused around memory; such as looking through old photos, dressing up in old clothes, or creating special memory boxes for residents’ rooms
  • Structured daily routines to help residents feel safe and at home
  • Smaller communal areas for residents with dementia to enjoy a quieter atmosphere

Units like this can really help to bring peace and calm to residents with dementia, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. 

The difference between EMD and EMI care

You may also have heard the term EMD used in reference to care homes. EMD stands for Elderly Mental Dementia. 

There is not much difference between the two terms, but EMI can refer to individuals in specialist dementia care homes or units, while EMD can mean dementia-friendly residential care homes. 

If you are looking for an EMI residential or nursing care home for yourself or a relative, you will need to check that the home can provide the type of care specific to you or your relative’ individual needs. 

Remember that if you need dementia care, you don’t necessarily require a home with an EMI care unit. Everyone is different and their care needs must be assessed as such. 

For more information, contact one of Lottie’s care experts today to start your care home journey. 

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Let Lottie get your search off to a great start by requesting a free bespoke care home shortlist created by our team of care experts.

Call us 0800 669 6840

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Let Lottie get your search off to great start by requesting a free bespoke care home shortlist created by our team of care experts.

Call us 0800 669 6840


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