What is the difference between a care home and a nursing home?

People are sometimes confused about the difference is between a care home and a nursing home because the word “care” is sometimes used as a generic term for both.

However, there are differences, in terms of the cost and also depending on whether a resident has specific medical needs that require nursing care on site from a qualified registered nurse.

A care home will provide a high level of care and support and may include special facilities for residents suffering from dementia.

A care home will usually offer a safe environment for elderly people struggling to live independently at home, and will support residents’ physical needs, such as help with washing, dressing and eating and assistance with medication.  It will also offer a variety of activities to stimulate residents both mentally and physically, including reading groups, music and art workshops, opportunities for gardening and other such activities such as visits from external companies.

Residents are supported by trained care assistants, who may have considerable experience in supporting the elderly but who do not have formal medical qualifications.

Care homes like Aveley Lodge go to enormous length to treat residents as individuals and have comprehensive care plans and risk assessments for each resident, but they will not generally have in-house state registered nursing staff, although they will, of course have access to medical help, such as a GP, District Nurse, Physiotherapist, Speech and Language therapist etc for residents who need it.

A nursing home, while offering residential care, usually care for residents who generally have complex medical conditions that require 24/7 attention and in the nursing home, there will always be 1 or more qualified nurses on duty to provide nursing care.

The costs of residential care in a nursing home are usually higher than in a care home, although it is sometimes possible for a resident to have state help with this.