Care homes

If you can no longer manage at home, even with extra help and after home adaptations, you may need to consider moving to a care home.

Residential care homes

A residential care home provides more help than sheltered housing or extra care housing.

Care homes are live-in facilities which 24-hour help with personal care such as eating, washing and taking medication.

Residents can get healthcare from a GP and other health professionals. Residents usually have their own bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and toilet, as well as access to a communal sitting room, dining room and often a garden.

Some care homes also offer short-term places. This may be useful if you are recovering from an illness or a hospital stay, or if your carer needs a break (known as respite care).

Nursing care homes

These homes provide 24-hour nursing care. They are for people with more complex needs who need regular medical attention.

Dual-registered care homes

Some care homes provide care both with and without nursing. This means that if someone's care needs increase after they move into residential care they can continue to receive the right level of care without having to move again.

Specialist care homes for people with dementia, learning disabilities or mental health problems

Some care homes are also registered to provide specialist support for people with dementia. Other care homes specialise in providing support to people with complex mental health problems, or to people with learning disabilities.

See supported living for people with a learning disability.

Needs assessment

If you are unsure about moving to a care home, you can request an assessment of your needs. This can help you to consider the options available.

If you decide that a residential or nursing home is an option for you, we can help with providing details of homes that may best meet your needs.

We will only recommend a residential or nursing home after you have had a needs assessment.

Paying for a care home

Most people have to pay something for their care and support. How much you pay depends on your income and assets.

The costs of residential or nursing homes depend on the type of facilities provided and the type of care you need. If you are funding your own care, you will have the flexibility to choose from any home as long as you can afford it.

If your care is being funded by the council, you need to think about the following before a placement can be agreed:

  • Is a place available in the home you prefer?
  • Does the care home meet your care needs?
  • Is the standard of the care home good enough for the council to agree to a contract with the care home owner to ensure that you are properly cared for?

Once your care home placement has been agreed, you may be expected to contribute towards the cost of your stay. To determine how much you will need to contribute, we will always carry out a financial assessment.

The amount you will be expected to contribute will be worked out according to a national set of guidelines, in accordance with the Care Act.

This involves carrying out a financial assessment or ‘means test’ and looks at how much income and capital (savings, assets and property) you have.

See paying for a care home for more information.

Finding a care home

When choosing a care home, it is important to make sure that you choose one that will be right for you now and in the future.

Care homes are run by a variety of organisations, including private firms, voluntary sector organisations and local councils.

You can get advice and information to help you make this important decision from:

  • your social worker or care manager
  • a district nurse
  • a health visitor
  • your family doctor.

Visit the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website to search for local care homes and read about the standards of care you can expect from a care home.

You can also get advice on finding a care home on the Age UK website.

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