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Types Of Care Home

Types Of Care Home

To help you find the right sort of care, this guide talks about the two types of care homes. Residential care homes and nursing homes, but there's loads of other types of care you might want to research, including home care, day care centres and retirement villages.

The main difference between a residential care home and a nursing home is that a nursing home will have a qualified nurse on site. Nursing homes can offer a higher level of care, so better for people with a physical disability who struggle significantly with daily life, or people with long-term conditions which require complex care.

What do care homes do?

Care homes provide accommodation, care and companionship for people who need help with managing daily life. This could be personal care like help with dressing, washing and eating. All care homes should have social activities and events and enable residents to keep busy with hobbies. These activities are important to maintain good physical and mental health and should be high up on your list of priorities when searching for care. A freshly decorated care home is great, but if your relative is spending 16 hours a day sat in a chair staring out the window then the home's got their priorities messed up. Trips out should also be part of their routine such as visits to local shops, attractions and places of worship. This should also be the case for nursing homes, but nursing homes will also be able to provide 24-hour medical care in addition to accommodation and personal care.

Do local councils run care homes?

Local authorities do run some care homes, privately owned care homes are more common. Charities, religous and voluntary organisations also own care homes.

Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes provide long term, short term, respite, emergency and palliative care to people of all ages who stay in a residential ‘live in’ setting rather than in their own home or family home. Residential care is an option for older people and those aged 18-65 with physical disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health issues or other care needs.

Residential homes are for people who don’t need 24-hour nursing care but are unable to care for their daily needs, so can’t live independently. Care homes vary in size with smaller homes housing as few as one resident and larger homes accommodating as many as 250.

It depends on the needs of the resident, care home staff can help with daily activities like personal care, dressing and eating.  Care homes are not medical facilities. Care homes offer residents with a furnished or unfurnished room, meals, housekeeping and laundry services. Also, there will be access to on-site facilities such as hair salons, cafes, cinema rooms and gardens as well as opportunities to use facilities in the local community.

Residents should expect to have regular social activities organised for them and day trips out into the community. Care homes also arrange visits from entertainers, reminiscence experts, GPs, dentists, physiotherapists etc.

Some care facilities can be provided specialist care support for conditions such as dementia, alcohol or drug dependence. For young people, help with skills such as cooking, budgeting, training and employment can promote their independence.

Care home standards are listed on the regulator's website, with the regulator able to enforce fines or even close a care home if it deems people's basic rights or safety is at risk.

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Nursing Homes

If you need more intense support for a specific condition or disability, a nursing home may be the right solution for you. A Nursing home will offer the same type of care as a care home but with the addition of 24-hour medical care from a qualified nurse.

Nursing homes are a place to live for people who have significant difficulty coping with daily tasks, they are supported in the home by nursing aides and skilled nurses who are available 24 hours a day. Nursing care will suit people who need intensive rehabilitation from illness such as a stroke, or people with physical disabilities, or long-term conditions.

Specialist care homes can be good for people with conditions such as dementia, alcohol or drug dependence. For the terminally ill, palliative care can also be option in a nursing home.

The size of a nursing home can vary greatly with some larger homes housing more than 200 residents. Residents can expect to have regular social activities organised for them, just like a care home. Regular visits from entertainers, GPs, dentists, physiotherapists and other providers can also be arranged.

Nursing home standards are outlined on the regulator's website, with the regulator able to enforce fines or even close a nursing home if it deems people's basic rights or safety is at risk.

Retirement Villages

Retirement villages are quite different to residential care homes but are a good care alternative for thousands of people. Residents usually purchase an apartment on the site, although in some schemes they can part-buy or even rent the property. You can decorate it however you want and most villages will allow pets. The properties are designed to keep people living independently and can be fitted with alarms, fall sensors and easily accessible showers.

At a retirement village, you can also pay for care and support services, which are on-site if you need them. Retirement villages have several different types of housing with some having a care home on one site, which can mean you don't have to move twice.

Extra Care Housing

Extra care housing, which is also known as sheltered housing, assisted living or supported living offers you more independence than living in a care home because you can live in a self-contained flat while getting meals provided. People using this service can also receive personal care if required.

This form of care accommodation is easy to manage, ranging from a simple bedsit to a large flat or small house. Extra care housing schemes may have a scheme manager who live either on or offsite. There will be 24-hour emergency help via an alarm system fitted in the property, this helps you to keep your independence whilst knowing support is nearby.

Extra care housing schemes provide better access and mobility for frail, disabled, older people with a domiciliary care service and personal care element being available.

Although accommodation is self-contained, there are often communal areas such as a lounge, communal dining rooms and garden for all individuals to socialise in. Many sheltered housing schemes also run social activities for residents.

Some extra care housing is available to rent privately, most sheltered housing for rent is provided by councils or housing associations that allocate housing based on need and there is often a waiting list.

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Ask awkward questions, check reviews, ask to see several rooms, check CQC score, sample the food, ask about activities and facilities

Some care homes are rubbish

If in doubt, walk away

Home Care

If you are frail, have a physical disability or another care need, if you need support to live independently in your own home, home care may be the right choice for you.

Home care, also known as domiciliary care can include services such as, getting in and out of bed, personal care (help with washing and dressing), shopping, cooking, cleaning and companionship. Also assistance to go to the doctors, day care centre or a friend's house.

Depending on your individual needs, the same care worker or agency may provide long-term, emergency care, respite care, or short visits which can range from 15 minutes to an hour or more.

If you have a loved one looking after you, they can qualify as a carer and receive a small allowance. A carer can have a carer's assessment to determine whether they require help to carry out their caring role.

Adapting your home, installing a stair lift or walk-in shower, can also help you stay independent. There are home gadgets and adaptations available to ensure you don't, leave the gas on, leave the tap running and sensors you can wear that can detect a fall or alert others that you need help.

Telehealth' and 'telecare' technology, include devices to remind people to take medication and enable care staff to remotely monitor health statistics like blood pressure.

Small adaptations available could include fitting handrails around your house, some larger adaptations may include installing a downstairs bathroom, fitting a stair lift, or widening doorways to allow wheelchair access.

As well as care and support organised by your local council, some people are also eligible to receive help from the NHS. This help may be a nursing service for people who are ill or recovering at home after leaving hospital.

If you require help in your home, contact your local authority's social services department to ask for an assessment of your care needs. If you don’t have your own home, shared lives services (also known as adult placement services) can offer you a place to live in a shared lives carer's home. Shared lives schemes support adults with learning disabilities, mental health problems or other care needs that make it hard for them to live alone.

Adult Day Care Centres

Adult Day centres help people who still live in their own home to socialise and enjoy life.

Adult day care centres can help make a difference to older people, people struggling with mental or physical disabilities and vulnerable adults in the community. They can be run by councils, the voluntary sector or private firms.

Adult Day Care centres provide a positive social environment and atmosphere, where visitors can socialise and enjoy a wide range of activities. People can also attend a day centre to give carers a break from their caring responsibilities.

Day centres are run by qualified, experienced staff and providing several activities intended to help you gain the practical skills needed for independent living, such as cooking and laundry. Also give you advice on a range of subjects like buying equipment to help with daily living tasks. Centres also provide gentle exercise and help with mobility, organise social activities such as craft and hobbies, games, outings and entertainment.

Some day centres offer training or work projects for people with disabilities. Others help those recovering from illness, such as a stroke. They will provide light refreshments such as tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits. Some may offer a cooked lunch.



Hospices can offer end of life care for people with a terminal illness or condition.

Hospice care can be used in a range of settings including a nursing home, hospice building or sometimes a hospital, however, it is most practised in the home. Hospices care for people with a wide range of illness including cancer, motor neurone disease, cardiovascular diseases, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Hospice staff offer emotional and practical support to patients and their loved ones. They focus on delivering a palliative approach; with individuals made comfortable and given pain relief when needed.

Hospices aim to give the best care possible to people with terminal or life-limiting conditions and the staff support people's families, especially in providing bereavement support.

To be considered for hospice care, a person must be terminally ill or expected to pass within six months. Hospices also support people with multiple life-limiting conditions including dementia. Hospices can also offer a range of services for people visiting the settings, including counselling and complementary therapies.

Mental Health Hospitals

Mental health hospitals provide specialist support for a wide range of behavioural and mental health complications. A trained and experienced team of staff help adults with complex needs, taking onboard forensic histories including substance misuse.

Private mental health hospitals may be in the position to offer patients their own bedroom with an en-suite bathroom. Other facilities may include a dining room, a range of shared lounges, a visitor's room, a garden and even a patient's kitchen.

The focus is ofter on rehabilitation to enable adults to become more confident and capable concerning their life skills to allow them to take steps towards greater independence. Expert and therapeutic interventions are also used to rehabilitate individuals with a history of offending behaviour.

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