Answered: aren’t care homes the same as nursing homes?

15/05/2019

We understand that when you’re looking for a new home for a loved one, knowing what type of home is best suited to your relative’s needs is really important. Last week, our Retirement Living team received a question from the daughter of an 82 year lady who is trying to find her Mum a home that offers daily support.

Her question was: “aren’t care homes the same as nursing homes?

This isn’t the first time we’ve had this question, so we’ve put together this brief guide to highlight the key differences between the two types of homes in order for prospective residents and their families to understand which one is most suitable for them.

In this guide:

  1. What is a care home?
  2. What is a nursing home?
  3. The one differentiating factor
  4. Which type of home is most suitable?

What is a care home?

A care home is a place of residence for older people who no longer want, or struggle, to live independently in their own homes and need personal care and support by on-site staff. Although care home residents will probably have some physical health conditions they can be managed without regular medical attention from nursing staff. The main objective of a care home is to provide support with personal daily living activities like washing, dressing and eating that would initiate a move into a care home. People that live in a care home with health conditions can still receive help with their medication and other medical needs through close working with the residents GP and community nursing team.

Care homes are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and therefore need to adhere to their strict level of inspection criteria in order to operate.

Abbeyfield care homes are safe, secure and social residences where your loved one can make companions, have their own private room, and can be supported by staff who make sure their needs are taken care of.

In an Abbeyfield care home, your loved one will:

  • Eat freshly prepared, home-cooked meals everyday
  • Have friendly support from caring staff who are there to help
  • Have help with personal care like washing and dressing, plus reminders to take prescribed medication
  • Have a respected balance between privacy and socialising
  • Enjoy regular group activities held within the home

We know our homes are different from the rest. We don’t profit from our resident fees and have wonderful Abbeyfield volunteers who enrich the lives of older people in our homes. When searching for the best care home for you or a loved one, make sure as many of the contributing values to a better quality of life are matched by the housing provider. We’re proud to say that in our Abbeyfield homes, we meet all of the well-being criteria.

What is a nursing home?

A nursing home is a place of residence for older people who need help with their daily living activities, as mentioned above, but also require regular clinical care for physical or mental health conditions which need to be supervised by qualified nurses. The residents of nursing homes usually have a deteriorating physical health condition requiring regular expert health care interventions.

Nursing homes, like care homes, are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and therefore need to adhere to their strict level of inspection criteria in order to operate.

Typically, nursing homes meet the needs of people who:

  • Need help with three or more daily living activities (eating/washing/using the bathroom)
  • Need 1-to-1 assistance or supervision with mobility
  • Could struggle to control their bowels or bladder
  • Might have difficulty with hearing, seeing, or talking
  • Suffer from conditions that result in problematic behaviours

It would be fair to say that nursing homes are for people with more advanced physical or mental health conditions that require qualified nurses to administer clinical care or medication regularly and carers who are able to assist with personal care that goes beyond minor help.

The one differentiating factor between care homes and nursing home

Now you’ve read the detailed explanations of the different types of homes, here is the one differentiating factor between care homes and nursing homes to help you make a better decision that’s suited to your loved one’s needs.

– Care homes are for residents with lower physical/mental health needs

Residents of care homes need support with daily living activities (washing, dressing and eating), and they would typically struggle to do any housework and cook for themselves, but may have previously lived alone without regular support from family or friends.

– Nursing homes are for residents with higher physical/mental health needs

Residents of nursing homes need all the support that a care home resident would need, as mentioned above, but also require regular physical care by qualified nurses like treating wounds and sores, administering injections, treating bowel functions and catheterisation. Maintaining physical conditions so residents aren’t hospitalised.

Which type of home is most suitable for your loved one?

If you’re still unsure of which type of home is most suitable for your loved one then don’t worry because there will always be a physical health assessment conducted before your relative will move into either a residential care home or a nursing home. And once they’re a resident, there are care plans in place to ensure their changing needs are met.

Abbeyfield’s residential care homes

The environment of a residential care home is certainly beneficial to older people who’ve previously found it difficult to get out of the house or do their personal daily living activities. Abbeyfield promotes independence by providing residents with their own private room in homes with similarly aged people and on-site staff, but also need the reassurance of that little bit more assistance with daily living routines including moving around the home safely.

There isn’t peace of mind without trust, that’s why all our residential care homes are registered and regulated by the Care Quality Commission, with homes subject to continual internal monitoring and assessment, assuring the highest possible standards of care and accommodation.

Find a Residential Care Home in your area