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

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

By Remy Hall on September 3, 2021
Whether you’re exploring care settings for yourself, a family member, or your spouse, there are so many different options to consider; you’d be forgiven for feeling slightly confused or overwhelmed. One of the most common […]

Whether you’re exploring care settings for yourself, a family member, or your spouse, there are so many different options to consider; you’d be forgiven for feeling slightly confused or overwhelmed. One of the most common questions people ask is, what’s the difference between a residential care home and a nursing home? Anyone looking into care must know the difference between them to select the best setting for those they love. With that in mind, the team of professionals at Oxford House are here to explain.

First off, it’s essential to recognise that residential care homes and nursing homes provide care and support for people who need it. What sets these two apart is the different levels of needs residents have, which impacts the amount of support they receive. 

Residential Care Homes

A residential care home tends to be for people who might need extra support with their day-to-day life and tasks but don’t have complex care needs. Residential care homes provide ‘live-in’ style accommodation, with 24/7 supervised staff support, who might need extra help with their care, for example, washing, dressing, and eating. While staff who work at residential care homes are trained to support residents, they might not be qualified to provide medical care. Simply put, residential care homes are generally for older adults who cannot live independently and, in most cases, struggle with their mobility but don’t need frequent medical treatment. 

Residential care homes also typically provide a community dining area, and staff actively encourage residents to socialise. They are also likely to include a social programme for residents encouraging people to participate in yoga, music, or art sessions.  

Nursing Home

In short, the main difference between the two is that a nursing home provides exceptional medical care for residents during their stay from trained medical professionals. 

Like residential care homes, nursing homes provide 24/7 care and support for residents, but with additional nursing assistance for those who require input and supervision by a registered nurse. The nursing professionals will then be on hand to create and monitor care plans, along with administrating treatment, like injections. A nursing home is required, by law, to have a nurse on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Depending on the size of the setting and capacity - several nurses might need to be on site. 

Generally, nursing homes do cost more than residential care settings, but that is due to the additional professional care required on-site. Residents in nursing homes might be eligible for funding from the NHS, which will pay for the care provided by the NHS registered nurses on site. Remember, those who have received Funded Nursing Care (FNC), must be admitted to a nursing home, not a residential care home. 

Ultimately, choosing the best-suited care setting for you or your relatives can be a difficult decision and, often, an emotional journey. That’s why it’s always best to get in touch with those who know the industry, just like our team of friendly professionals at Oxford House Care. With more than 40 years behind us, we know picking the right care setting is not always straightforward, so have a chat with us, and together, we can help you take those next steps.