Back to Knowledge Hub

Nursing homes vs. Residential Care Homes

What’s the Difference? Nursing Care Home vs. Residential Care Homes

Are you just beginning your research into care home facilities for an elderly relative, parent, partner, or yourself? In an already emotionally stressful time, the last thing you need is to be overwhelmed by care terms. By ensuring you fully understand the difference between the care services available, it should make the decision easier for all involved.

Often, the term ‘care home’ is used fluidly to describe all elderly home facilities. Our simple guide aims to give clarity on exactly what a residential care home provides and answers key questions like ‘what is a nursing home?’. We will clearly outline the differences and services available to allow you to make an informed decision for your loved one.

Key Differences Between Nursing Care Homes and Residential Care Homes

Understanding the key differences between residential and nursing care is key to choosing the right care facility for your loved one.

Although both facilities offer 24/7 support to residents, the care home you choose will depend on the level of care required. The main difference is that nursing care homes can provide a higher level of care, for those who have more severe illnesses, disabilities or require closely monitored care led by a nursing team.

Both nursing care and residential care homes provide basic support with day-to-day tasks such as meals, housekeeping and washing or dressing and are available on either a long- or short-term basis.

Services provided by nursing homes are provided by registered nurses, supported by care assistants, meaning that more expert levels of care can be provided to residents at all times, whereas within a residential care home residents have lower regular care needs.

What Are The Services Provided by Nursing Homes?

Whether a person requires nursing care is dependent on each individual situation, but factors can include things such as mobility, complex medical conditions which require specialist knowledge and equipment, and conditions that need monitoring such as someone who is fed through a tube.

Nursing care homes on a whole are very similar to that of a residential home, with comfortable, homely bedrooms, with ensuites and shared communal facilities.

Each individual within the nursing care home will have a tailored care plan, which will assess the specific needs, allowing the nurses and care assistants to provide and administer the treatment required.

What Are The Services Provided by Residential Care Homes?

Again, residential care homes provide 24-hour personal support for people who need assistance with daily tasks but do not require ongoing nursing care. Residential care homes offer professional care from qualified care assistants, who can support with things such as washing, dressing, taking medication and going to the bathroom.  Residential care homes are supported by community based District Nursing teams who can be called upon to attend the home at a certain time to support the home with their care, but they are not available 24/7.

Residential care homes are a great option for those who are still mainly able to live independently but may require support at times, or perhaps want to live within a community, rather than independently at home. They give elderly people the opportunity to experience comfort and support in their later years within a safe environment, which also gives families the peace of mind that their loved one has someone on hand to support.

Choosing the Right Care Home

Whether you are recommended for nursing care or residential care homes is entirely dependent on individual circumstances and will be determined at an Assessment Meeting with your care home provider.

If the person you are considering the care home for is reliant on close care for medical reasons, then a nursing care home is more likely to be recommended. If the purpose of moving into care is because of overall support with daily tasks, or for the company of others, and the individual does not need around the clock care or only has occasional nursing needs that can be fulfilled by a District Nurse, then a residential care home will be recommended.

Within both residential care setting and nursing home care setting there are other care home types and services available, including specialist dementia care and convalscent or respite care.

It’s important to consider the individual requirements and work with your GP and care provider to decide on the most appropriate form of care. If you’re unsure, Avery’s helpful support team would be happy to discuss and advise on the options available, contact today for more advice and information.




Related articles

What is a Residential Care Home?

Find out more

What’s the difference? Nursing Care Homes vs. Residential Care Homes

Find out more