What care to choose? Does my loved one need a nursing home or a care home, or other specialist care? To help you cut through the jargon and make a better informed decision about your choice of home, we have explained below the different types of care available.
Care home v nursing home
A “care home” is any place where someone who is elderly or infirm lives when they cannot live at home any more. By this definition, nursing homes and care homes are one and the same and frustratingly, if you do an internet search for “care homes” it would list both.
When looking for a care home, you need to read further about what that home provides. If it is more specialist, it is likely to also be a nursing home.
Both a care home and a nursing home:
- Provide residential accommodation and they are often called residential homes or residential care homes.
- Are staffed 24 hours a day. There is a manager and qualified care assistants. All Heritage Manor care assistants have a National Vocational Qualification at Level 2 or 3.
- Provide meals and help with eating and drinking.
- Give assistance with personal care, such as washing and help with toileting, dressing and mobility.
- Provide social activities. All Heritage Manor homes have a dedicated well-being coordinator to ensure a full wide range of activities for the residents.
The crucial difference is in the level of expertise.
A care home will not employ nursing staff, which would most likely be reflected in lower fees for the home. The care is provided 24 hours a day by care assistants. Generally, the need for care is more driven by degenerative health conditions associated with ageing.
A nursing home provides all the above aspects of a care home but also employs qualified registered general nurses (RGNs). They are on duty 24 hours a day to make sure that all medicines can be administered and full nursing care can be given. They liaise closely with the resident’s doctors and as they are close to the residents, they are more aware of any changes which may require a visit from a doctor.
If my Mum has poor mobility, does she need a nursing home or a care home?
The answer to this rather depends on the level of mobility. If you mother is slow, or requires the assistance of one person, or typically she would use a walking frame, it is more likely that her care needs could be supported in a residential care home.
However, if your Mother is immobile and is either bed-bound or requires hoisting to transfer from bed to chair, then her care needs are nursing.
Immobility is generally a nursing need as the level of care and assistance increases.
Person-centred care is putting each individual at the heart of their care plan. It is caring for the whole person and includes their mental and emotional needs and wellbeing, as well as their physical and medical needs.
We believe in person-centred care and talk to residents and their families about their interests and hobbies, likes and dislikes, life histories and loved ones. Our well-being co-ordinators in each home tailor the weekly programme of events and activities to the residents’ wishes, and where needed will provide one-to-one attention. Resident happiness is paramount and there is a lot of fun and laughter in our homes.
We believe that “You don’t stop having fun when you get old…You get old when you stop having fun.”
We also recognise the importance of quieter time, to recharge and recuperate and one to one time with residents to listen, reminisce and ease any worries.
Residents are consulted regularly regarding food choices and additions to the menu. Our chefs are passionate about cooking from first principles, will liaise directly with residents on their preferences, and we use locally sourced produce and often vegetables grown by residents.
Dementia care is a continually evolving field of care, as more research is carried out into Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.
Dementia affects each individual differently. Put very simply it breaks down connections in the brain. Therefore, what was once automatic, such as remembering a name or how to dress, can become muddled or impossible. With dementia you may see a whole range of emotions from frustration, insecurity, agitation, loss, anguish, aggression, stress, to name a few.
Understanding each person’s dementia, their needs and trying to preserve connections in the brain, all form part of specialist dementia care.
Specialist dementia care includes:
- getting to know each person, with memory boxes, photos and mementos
- having new approaches to easing anxiety and stress, such as twiddlemuffs and makeup https://www.heritagemanor.co.uk/2018/05/makeup-activities-care-dementia-therapy/
- dementia therapies, such as gardening therapy, music therapy https://www.heritagemanor.co.uk/2016/12/singing-for-the-brain/ and pioneering doll therapy https://www.heritagemanor.co.uk/2016/11/dementia-care/
- support for families with links and visits to groups in the community, such as the Stourtport Dementia Cafe
- designing homes and refurbishing them with dementia care in mind, such as sensory gardens and personalised rooms.
End of life care
This is also known as palliative care. There is now an accreditation for care homes showing excellence in end of life care, known as the Gold Standards Framework. This is the care industry recognised kitemark for end of life care excellence. It is only awarded to homes which have demonstrated exceptional nursing and end of life care, both for residents and in support of their families. https://www.heritagemanor.co.uk/help-advice/gold-standards-framework/
Knowing a loved one is approaching the end of their life is a terribly sad and emotional time for families and carers. It is a time that should afford the utmost respect, dignity, sensitivity and compassion.
Our Gold Standard Framework Awards
We are incredibly proud that Abberton, Newstead, Summerdyne and The Lawns hold platinum accreditation with the Gold Standards Framework. This is because they have held the award over a consecutive number of years.
In 2019, The Lawns was nominated as The Gold Standards Framework Care Home of the Year as a home showing best practice and an inspiration to others. https://www.heritagemanor.co.uk/2019/10/platinum-award-gold-standards-framework/
In 2018, Newstead won in the palliative category at The Great British Care Awards. https://www.heritagemanor.co.uk/2018/12/newsteads-success-at-the-great-british-care-awards-2018/
This is interim care for someone who needs extra support to help recovery to enable them to go home. Convalescent care is another term for respite care.
This can be following an illness, an operation or time in hospital (which can be called convalescence care). It enables a person to be a temporary resident of the home and to receive the same access to care and activities as any permanent resident. It allows time to ensure a full recovery and to regain strength, confidence and that zest for life.
Respite care can give long term carers a break. It can be a few days or as long as needed. We take advanced bookings, for example if operation dates are known.
We have many respite residents, who are repeat visitors and book themselves in for holidays! https://www.heritagemanor.co.uk/2018/03/respite-care-the-lawns/
“Bariatric” means a person over 25 stone in weight. There is an increasing demand for bariatric rooms within nursing homes, due to the rise in obesity in the UK. These require larger beds with specialist mattresses and overhead joists. Bariatric care requires specialist training, such as how to use hoists and The Lawns has bariatric care facilities.
We hope this helps you make a more informed choice of care home. Most importantly, when making your decision we recommend you visit homes. Spend time with residents and their families and speak to staff.
If you get a good feeling from a home, then you will know the right choice to make. Ultimately, a care home or a nursing home needs to be home and have that warmth, love and comfort of home. We look forward to welcoming you.