Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference?

Residential care homes

People often use the terms “nursing home” and “care home” interchangeably. However, both are completely different facilities, and when it’s time to move a loved one to either one of them, you must do your homework on what they each provide.

There are many different types of care homes that provide different levels of care. However, most people’s understanding of them is often limited to a residential care home. One of the differences between nursing and residential care homes is that the former usually have qualified nurses available to provide medical assistance. Here’s the gist of what they each provide.

Nursing Homes

Both residential care and nursing homes provide support 24 hours a day but the latter provides a higher level of care. On the downside, more extensive senior care and added facilities mean residents have to pay more money for their stay.

Again, there is no definite figure of what nursing homes charge, but it often depends on where you live. For example, nursing homes in London are significantly more expensive than homes anywhere else.

As specified already, a nursing home provides some form of medical assistance with qualified nurses available round the clock. In contrast, residential homes are more focused on providing your loved ones with physical activities, support, and, most of all, personal care.

Also check: What to Do When You Witness Nursing Home Abuse

Nursing Facilities

Residential Care Homes

Residential care homes like typically focus on providing care and support with daily tasks such as eating, dressing, or washing. However, there’s no form of medical assistance available here like nursing homes. These facilities are often suited to people who do not require nursing care but are looking to enhance the quality of their life for a certain period.

Even though some residential care homes provide you with the option to avail of nursing facilities, they are mainly for people who cannot manage their life at all. For instance, people struggling to maintain their personal hygiene, medication, and general mobility can be given the option after discussing it with the residential care facility.

The pattern you may see in a typical residential care home resident is some form of physical or learning disability along with mental health issues that hinder their ability to perform daily tasks. However, they don’t usually require frequent medical assistance.

This is why the staff at a residential care home may be able to help the person with daily support to perform basic tasks and may also administer medication but may not necessarily be suited to providing medical care.

Additionally, residential settings also have a number of physical and social activities planned for their residents almost on a daily basis. This way, residents who were previously unable to take part in leisure activities get a fair chance to display their expertise in the form of hosting, planning, or organizing events.

In short, the kind of care provided in a residential home is slightly less than that provided in a nursing home. However, it also comes with the added benefit of lower costs, making it a more affordable option to consider, given that your loved one is in no need of medical assistance.

Services In a Nursing Home

Services in Nursing Homes

Services provided in a nursing home typically consist of the following:

  • Nurses, along with their qualified assistants, can identify symptoms in a resident.
  • They can also provide 24-hour residential care but mostly focus on taking care of people with complex needs.
  • Some nursing homes are also equipped to deal with specific conditions such as dementia, cancer, or even severe physical disabilities.

While people with dementia can generally be supported in a residential home, those living with an advanced stage may require specialized assistance from a nursing home.

You may also be interested in 6 Ways to Make Life Easier When a Loved One Suffers From Alzheimers

Which Facility Is Right For You?

Eventually, it all comes down to what a person needs. However, identifying those needs can sometimes be challenging. So how do you determine whether someone needs nursing or residential care?

The first thing you can do is get a needs assessment done by the local council to identify whether the needs of the person in question fall under the category of nursing or residential care.

Final Verdict

In the end, both nursing and residential care facilities specialize in providing care to people, especially older adults, with a certain health condition that hinders their ability to function on an optimal level. However, determining whether they need medical assistance or not is the point where you draw a line and decide which of the two facilities can take care of them in the best manner possible. Hence, understand the medical needs of a person you are planning to enroll in either of the two facilities and take your pick carefully.

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