Types of Care Home Available

Although most of us would prefer to stay in the comfort of our own homes, there are some situations where it becomes too difficult. For example, if you have a condition that requires regular medical treatment or you need frequent support with daily tasks, you may feel you need more care than you are able to get at home. In this case, a care home may be the best option, and can help you focus on other aspects of your life by reducing the stress of having to look after your healthcare.

There are several different types of care home to choose from, but the most important thing is that it is a comfortable and happy place to live and it should feel like home.

Food, accommodation and personal care are offered at all care homes, as well as access to medical care from trained professionals whenever you need it. There are two main types of care home:

1. Residential homes

Also known as care homes without nursing. They differ from care homes with nursing (known as nursing homes) in that they offer a lower level of support. People living here don't have complex needs and are less likely to need regular medical attention or treatment. Generally, the staff in these homes are trained care workers rather than trained nurses, but should have all the skills necessary to provide the right support.

2. Nursing homes

Care homes with nursing support people with greater and more complex levels of need.

There will be both trained nurses and trained care workers on duty throughout the home at any given time.

Due to the increased level of support, nursing homes have higher fees, so it's important you are choosing a home with the right level of support for you. Some possible reasons that would mean someone is more suited to a nursing home are:

  • you can not stand or move around without the help of two people or specialist equipment
  • you exhibit particularly challenging behaviour such as a tendency to be aggressive towards others
  • incontinence of faces or double incontinence (incontinence of both urine and faeces)
  • complex medical needs that require regular treatment from a qualified nurse

There are also specialist types of care homes for residents with greater needs that offer additional services.

Some care homes, with or without nursing care, are also registered to provide specialist support for people with a diagnosis of dementia; this is known as EMI (Elderly Mentally Infirm) Care. Other care homes specialise in providing support to people with complex mental health problems, or to people with learning disabilities.

It is important to note that no-one with dementia, a mental health problem or a learning disability can legally be made to move into a care home against their will unless it can be proved:-

  • that they lack the 'mental capacity' to make a decision on their situation
  • that a move to a care home is the only way in which the necessary support can be provided to them
  • that the move is therefore in their 'best interests'
  • Some homes called dual-registered care homes provide both personal care and nursing care. This means that if someone's care needs increase after they move into the home, they can continue to receive the right level of care without having to move again.

Useful links

NHS - Care homes

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