Residential care homes

Traditionally care homes were referred to as residential homes and nursing homes. Today, the most common terms are care homes, which refers to all homes for the elderly which provide residential and personal care. In addition to this, there are care homes with nursing care, which also provide residential and personal care, but in addition offer nursing care. We describe nursing homes in more detail here. We also cover dementia care homes in more detail.

Some homes will have a specific number of beds which are registered as being with nursing care while their other beds are defined as being without nursing care, often in different parts of the same facility. In addition to this, care homes may be registered as providing EMI care, which stands for Elderly Mentally Ill or Infirmed and includes dementia.

What does personal and residential care involve?

Care homes offer residential, personal care, which includes:

  • Assistance with personal hygiene, such as support with bathing, washing, skin and nail care.
  • Help dressing and undressing.
  • All your meals and snacks, plus assistance with eating if required.
  • Help with going to the toilet, bed changing and support if using incontinence pads.
  • Support with medication application. Carers should have a certificate in the safe handling of medicines and be able to give basic medication. You will be under the care of a GP and district nursing service in exactly the same way as you would be living in your own home. So for example, a district nurse would visit to change dressings and provide insulin injections for diabetic patients. However, if you require support from a qualified nurse every 24 hours, you would need a placement in a nursing home.
  • Assistance getting in and out of bed.
  • Games, exercises, trips out and entertainment to provide stimulation and encourage activity.

A care home is a very good option for people who are struggling to cope at home with daily tasks such as eating well and personal care. Good homes offer a range of activities which help to keep people as active as possible and stimulated.

If you think your relative may need a higher level of care than set out above, a nursing home may be more suitable. Elsewhere on our site, we explain the services provided by nursing homes in more detail. We also provide information about dementia care homes. You can also speak to an adviser who can provide specialist care home advice based on an assessment of your relative’s individual needs.

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