Nursing Homes versus Care Homes

Problems With Nursing Homes - Business Insider

Nursing homes and care homes are important when one is considering senior care living. But because the terms are often used interchangeably, there’s a lot of confusion about nursing homes and care homes.

Both can provide round-the-clock care, accommodation, supervision from staff 24 hours a day, meals and help with personal care needs, but in what way are they different?

Let’s look at some of the differences.

1. Care Home

A care home is run by home manager(s) who is required to have a management qualification as well as experience in care, but does not necessarily require any nursing experience. Residential care homes provide various facilities and often include social and physical programmes and activities (e.g. music/yoga classes/arts therapy/outings) for their residents.

A residential home is for people with a lower level of need/physical dependency to those living in a nursing home. Typically, those who can’t safely continue to live at home, they typically need some help with everyday tasks such as washing, dressing, having meals prepared for them but their level of physical needs doesn’t necessarily require continual supervision of a nurse.

While the employed caregivers are trained to tend to the needs of the residents, they may not be qualified nurses. If they are required to tend to residents with chronic illnesses or disabilities where administration of medicines by injection or complex dressings are needed, they will have to liaise with district nurses, doctors and professional healthcare practitioners to do the job.

2. Nursing Homes

They are similar in providing 24-hour care and support, like care homes and may overlap with certain care-home traits, but they come with added nursing care for residents who require supervision by a registered nurse.

Nursing homes are often better equipped with specialist hospital beds and a range of equipment for moving and handling people, and are usually the best choice for those who have severe mobility difficulties or require post hospitalization treatment. The employees can also properly devise and monitor care plans, provide and administer treatment and carry out timely medical interventions for residents with complex medical ailments and be able to administer tricky medical care such as intravenous medication, catheterisation, managing and treating wounds and taking blood samples, for example. They can also better recognise symptoms and changes in a person’s condition, and are better qualified to decide when to refer to a doctor or other health professional when necessary.


Ultimately every care home must specify exactly what level of care they are able to provide and demonstrate how they can meet residents’ needs. Therefore, it is important to consider not only current care needs, but also how much help is likely to be needed in the long run. If you’re unsure, talk or refer to your doctor or care home specialists about the needs of your loved one and they can help you reach the right decision.


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