Care home vs. nursing home: What’s the difference?

We’ve written previously about the difference between a nursing home and a hospice, and in this post, we’re tackling another common question: 

What’s the difference between a care home and a nursing home?

If you’re currently faced with the decision of moving a loved one into full-time care, it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed and emotional. And choosing a care facility can prompt plenty of questions.

While both care homes and nursing homes do a wonderful job at improving a resident’s quality of life, it can be difficult to know which is the best option for your loved one’s needs.

To answer that, let’s take a look at the definitions, differences, and similarities of these important caregiving facilities.

Nursing home vs. care home at-a-glance

  • What is a care home? In a care home, qualified carers provide around the clock care for your loved one. Everything from eating, washing, dressing and toileting, to moving about and socialising, depending on their needs.

    However, carers cannot offer ongoing medical care, and must defer to a district nurse when medication needs to be administered, or if a resident injures themselves. 
  • What is a nursing home? Like a care home, a nursing home provides 24/7 residential care — but instead of carers, the staff is made up of registered nurses and qualified care assistants.

    This makes nursing homes a better option for those dealing with a long-term illness, medical condition, or post-op recovery.

What are the key differences between a care home and a nursing home?

Care homes do a phenomenal job — anyone selflessly caring for elderly and vulnerable individuals are angels in our eyes. 

But there will come a time when your loved one requires specialist care, and that means choosing a nursing home for the following reasons:

  • A nursing home provides 24-hour nursing care. If your loved one requires medication, dressing to be changed, catheter training, or for a doctor to be called, this can be handled quickly on the day by expert nurses. This is not always possible in a care home.
  • The presence of trained nurses provides reassurance to both you and your loved one. They’re capable of managing people with complicated needs, who may otherwise be hospitalised.
  • The equipment in a nursing home is better suited for complex care. With specialist beds, a range of mattresses, and hoist & transfer equipment for poor mobility, residents with medical conditions or illnesses are catered to every step of the way.
  • There’s no need to make two moves. If your loved one needs help with personal care in addition to medical care, a nursing home can handle this from the outset (rather than eventually moving from a care home to a nursing home over time).

Read more: 5 reasons to move into a nursing home

Nursing home vs. care home: How much does it cost?

Costs can vary depending on where you are in the UK and the level of care your loved one requires.

While a nursing home is typically a little bit more expensive than a care home, you can apply for and receive funded nursing care paid for by the government. 

It helps not to view this as a cost, but instead, to think of it as an investment into your loved one’s quality of life as they grow older. Both their physical and mental health is accounted for, as they’re encouraged to eat well, exercise, maintain their medication regimen, and socialise with other residents. 

Nursing home or care home: Which should you choose for your loved one?

At the end of the day, the choice will come down to your loved one’s circumstances. A care home can provide safe and secure 24/7 residential care, but if you need to consider medical care over and above this, a nursing home is your best bet.

At Fulford Nursing Home, we make sure the transition is seamless. We work closely with each resident and their loved ones to create a personalised care plan, covering the quirks and the necessities — and everything in between.  

If you’d like to chat with one of our friendly staff members, please contact us on 01904 654 269. We’re ready to listen and happy to help.