Some of the most frequent questions we get from care seekers are about the difference between residential and nursing care, and what nursing care really involves.
So, we’ve put together this handy article to demystify nursing care and give you answers to those all-important questions. Read on for all you need to know about nursing care in a care home.
Use our directory to find a nursing care home near you.
A nursing home sometimes called a care home with nursing, is a care home specifically equipped to look after and care for those with more complex health needs, on a temporary or permanent basis.
In a nursing home, care is provided 24-hours a day by registered nurses, also known as RNs. Care assistants may also be on-hand to support these nurses.
All residents in a nursing home require nursing care, including administration of intravenous medication and wound care. Nursing homes sometimes have wings dedicated to caring for people with specific conditions, such as dementia.
If you or a loved one are struggling significantly with daily life and can no longer care for yourself, it may be time to consider residential care or nursing care support. However, if you have a physical or mental disability, learning disabilities, mental health issues, a long-term or terminal illness like cancer, or a specific health condition like dementia, a nursing home can offer support for your needs - as well as provide regular treatment and care from registered nurses. However, it’s worth noting that if you have a physical or learning disability, a mental health condition or you are in the early stages of a condition like dementia, you might be able to live in a residential home unless your symptoms worsen.
If you’re unsure what your care needs are, you can request a care needs assessment from your local council. The assessment will work out what sort of support and care you require, including nursing care - helping you to be better informed and able to find the best level of care for you.
The lines between nursing and residential care often blur, but there are a few main differences, including:
Price - Due to the higher level of care provided and specialist services, staff and facilities needed, nursing homes are usually more expensive than residential care homes. On average, the expected weekly cost of residential care in the UK is £704, whereas the average cost of nursing home care is £888. Please be advised that these figures are only estimates; care home fees vary depending on where you live and the exact level of care you require
Staff - In a residential care home, care may be provided by qualified care assistants, whereas in a nursing home, residential nurses or special nursing staff will be on-hand 24/7. This is because nursing staff are given specific training on how to provide the care and support nursing home residents need on a daily basis, such as administering medication
Independence of residents - In residential care, people are usually more independent and need less support – although they might still need help with things like washing and dressing. In nursing homes, residents may spend more time in bed, need help getting in and out of bed and moving around the home, or may be bed-bound and require round-the-clock care.
Every person requires a unique social services elderly care package to meet their care needs. Nursing care is often seen as a step up from residential care, in that those who need nursing care should be given a higher level of care; whether that’s round-the-clock support or help administering medications and treatments.
Residents receiving nursing care will also be given the same care as in a residential home, including help with washing, dressing and eating – plus help with daily tasks. But there will also be qualified nurses there to help people with severe physical disabilities, complex medical conditions, advanced stages of illnesses and poor mobility.
There are so many wonderful nursing homes in the UK, which is why we understand that the choice is overwhelming at times.
The best way to start is to make a list of your top priorities; whether that’s location, price, facilities at the home, or the activities and experiences available. In a care home, activities are often organised by a dedicated activities coordinator. Further, do you have a specific health condition that requires specialist equipment, treatment, or staff? This will all help you narrow down the search.
Once you have a list of nursing homes you’re interested in, it’s time to get in contact! Phoning, requesting a brochure or paying the home a visit will all help you get a feel for the home and work out whether you think it could be your kind of place. Looking at the CQC rating for the homes on your list is also a good indication of the quality of care the home provides.
Finally, you will also need to know how you will be paying your care home fees. Your needs assessment should have helped you work out your best option; whether that’s self-funding or receiving help from your local authority or the NHS. Although nursing homes are more expensive, there are several benefits that you may be eligible for to help you cover the costs.
We offer a number of superb nursing homes throughout the UK, including:
The Arkley Care Home in Barnet
The Beeches Care Home in Brentwood
Hillside Care Home in Buckinghamshire
Acacia Lodge Care Home in Henley-on-Thames
We know it can be stressful, when organising your finances for nursing care in a care home - it’s important to check you’re getting all the financial support you're entitled to. For example, you may be eligible for funding support from your local authority as well as additional types of funding such as attendance allowance.
It can feel overwhelming to understand the different types of financial options available to fund nursing home costs, that's why we’re here to help. We’ve created a care home fees and funding guide, to help care seekers be better financially informed.
It’s worth pointing out that if you have been assessed as being eligible for Funded Nursing Care (FNC), you can only go into a nursing home, not a residential care home.
This is because FNC is a contribution made by the NHS towards the nursing costs of an individual’s care and it can only be used to pay for a nursing home with a Registered Nurse.
If you’re looking for more advice on how to find a nursing home, or what nursing home life involves, why not get in touch.
A member of our friendly team will be able to answer any questions you have, as well as make useful suggestions on the type of nursing home that might suit you best. Good luck!