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Select Healthcare Group News


November 21st 2018

To the surprise of many, there are numerous differences between residential care homes and nursing homes. The two terms are frequently used synonymously (with many other expressions in the mix) and so a bit of confusion occurs when it comes to choosing the appropriate care home for your relative.

Since many people don’t understand the differences between residential care and nursing care, the beneficial services of each nursing facility and how advantageous each type of care home is to your relative's specific ailments and care requirements is often blurred.

The main similarities of nursing care homes and residential homes are both facilities provide consistent personal care to residents within the home. Such care includes fully prepared meals, general care around-the-clock and helps with personal care tasks such as bathing and dressing, should the residents need such help.

So, to clear things up, we will explain the differences between the two homes, allowing you to clearly determine if your relative necessitates a nursing care or residential care home.

Residential Care Homes

Residential homes are generally used when a person becomes highly dependent on others for assistance with personal care and general daily tasks. Residential care homes are frequently termed as elderly care homes since many of the residents tend to be seniors who are finding independent living increasingly difficult.

Care homes are a safe shelter for your loved one to receive the daily support that they need with everything from bathing, dressing, doing their hair, to shaving, taking medications and having wholesome meals fully prepared and cooked for them.

Care home staffs also strive to stimulate social and physical activity amongst residents to keep them both physically and mentally alert.

Elderly homes have staff supervision 24 hours a day and a percentage of the staff are qualified care assistants, usually with Level 2 or 3 NVQ's and care home managers are must have experience in care and required to have a Registered Manager's Award or equivalent management qualifications.

Residents in care homes follow fully tailored care plans to accommodate their individual needs and full records must be kept for all individuals. As the staffs are generally experienced in care but without nursing qualifications, if the resident requires complex wounds to be treated, or specific medicines administered such as injections, district nurses are usually called in to assist to ensure all residents are appropriately and safely looked after when under the care of a residential home.

Skilled Nursing Facility

On the contrary, a skilled nursing facility provides extensive daily personal care to its residents, similarly to that of a residential care home, but the care is supervised and aided by skilled, registered nurses who can provide niche care for various ailments.

Skilled nursing homes are furnished with niche apparatus and are well equipped for those with severe mobility complications with specialist beds, fixed wall hoists, ceiling hoists and the likes.

Long-term care facilities are best for those with complex medical ailments and severe conditions as qualified nurses are on hand 24 hours to provide complicated medical intervention and administer tricky medical care such as intravenous medication, catheterisation, managing and treating wounds and taking blood samples, for example.

Qualified nurses are also able to easily detect changes in your relative’s health and take the appropriate actions to ensure their well-being and alert doctors if this is necessary.

Dementia patients require a more intense level of care and observation than many others, and sometimes require very specialised care from dementia trained nurses. Many skilled nursing facilities also double up as dementia care homes and can provide a level of care that simply cannot be offered in a regular residential home.

Dementia care homes will have Registered Mental Health nurses caring for patients and the homes will be physically suitable for patients with dementia. This might include signs to help them navigate their way through the home safely, calming décor and increased levels of patient security to prevent wandering. 

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