Difference Between Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes

Difference Between Residential Care Homes and Nursing Homes

Our investors often ask us if there are any differences between a residential care home and a nursing home as the terms are often used interchangeably.

In short, all care homes provide residential and personal care. Both residential care homes and nursing homes provide residents with accommodation, 24 hours a day supervision from staff, meals and help with personal care needs. However, there are some key differences which we cover in this article.

What is a residential care home?

Residential care homes, sometimes called elderly care homes are used by residents aged 65 years or older who have become dependent on others for assistance with their personal care and general daily tasks. This includes support with washing, getting dressed, taking medications and having meals prepared. Tailored care plans are created for each resident and these are individualised dependent on their specific needs. Social and physical activity is also incorporated into the individual care plan to keep the residents mentally and physically stimulated.

Staff are on duty 24 hours a day and some of the staff are qualified care assistants with National Vocational Qualification (NVQ’s) at level 2 or 3. Each home will also have a registered manager, the person appointed by the care home provider to manage the regulated activity on their behalf, where the provider is not going to be in day-to-day charge of the regulated activities themselves. Staff in residential care homes are generally experienced in care but don’t have nursing qualifications. If specific medicines need to be administered to a resident through injections a district nurse will be called in to assist.

What is a nursing home?

Nursing homes provide the same day-to-day care you can expect from a residential care home however residents in nursing homes tend to have more complex needs. This can include things like requiring medication by injection, help for severe mobility issues, treatment of diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. Because of this Nursing homes will have a registered nurse on duty 24 hours a day and tend to be equipped with specialist beds and equipment.

Nursing homes generally command a higher weekly fee than residential care homes because of the more complex needs of their residents. However, an important consideration is that the biggest overheads of a care home are staff wages. Because residents in a nursing home have more complex needs the staff to resident ratio tends to be much higher to reflect the fact that the residents need more frequent support. Also, nurses are far more expensive than staff in a residential care home who are generally paid the living wage. There is also the well documented shortage of nurses so many care homes are forced to hire agency nurses which can be expensive and unreliable. All of this is not to say that nursing homes are a bad investment. Many nursing homes are run very well and are profitable, however, it is important to know the pros and cons of investing in care homes.

Some care homes provide care both with and without nursing.  These are known as ‘dual-registered’ homes. The advantage of these care homes is that if someone’s care needs increase after they move into the home, they can continue to receive the right level of care without having to move again.

To discuss the types of services the care home investments available at HyLife just give us a call on 020 3875 0837 or email enquiries@hylifeinvest.com and one of our team members will explain the different options available to you.  

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