Types of care

There is a variety of services that offer specific types of care including the following:

Residential Care
Residential homes provide care for older persons who may be finding it difficult to manage at home and who may need help with personal care such as bathing and dressing, or additional help with meals.   Residential care homes do not provide nursing care however they may be registered to provide care for people with confusional illnesses such as dementia.

Nursing Care
Homes registered for nursing care have trained nurses in attendance 24 hours a day and cater for people who require a higher level of care than a residential home can provide. Some Nursing Homes specialise in specific illnesses such as head injuries, Parkinson’s disease, Huntingdon’s and strokes for example, and some are able to offer care for people with dementia.   The fees charged in nursing homes are usually higher than those in residential homes; however the NHS makes a nominal contribution towards these fees for the nursing aspect of the care provided (see Fees & Funding).

Dementia Care
Dementia is an illness that is becoming more common in older people. There are different types of dementia including Alzheimer's, Lewy Bodies (LBD) and vascular dementia amongst others. Depending on the level of dementia and the level of care that is needed, care may be provided in either a Residential or Nursing Care Home; however the home must be registered for this type of care. Homes that are registered for dementia or for people with varying levels of cognitive impairment employ specially trained staff and make adaptations to the home environment to ensure that residents are able to enjoy a high quality of life. There are also specialist homes that are able to cater for people whose dementia is more advanced and who may display challenging behaviors including aggression and those with moderate to high confusion. 

Respite Care
Respite care is available for individuals who need short term care for between one to four weeks to enable a full time carer to have a rest or holiday, or in the event that the carer themselves becomes ill temporarily. Some care homes have rooms specifically reserved for respite care; other homes only offer this service if there is a vacant room available. Respite care can be provided as a one off stay or for more frequent stays. Respite care also enables people to try ‘the lived experience’ of being in a care setting and deciding whether they need care on a permanent basis.

Convalescence/Post-operative Care
Individuals who need a period of recuperation after an illness or operation may be cared for in either a residential or a nursing home depending upon the level of care that is needed. Some homes are able to provide specialist treatment to assist the recovery period with an in-house physiotherapist/occupational therapist; other homes are able to provide these services using external providers.

Continuing Care
Continuing Care is a package of care that is funded wholly by the NHS and which includes healthcare (services provided by a nurse or specialist therapist) and personal care (i.e. help with bathing, dressing and laundry). Continuing NHS healthcare and NHS-funded nursing care is provided over an extended period of time to meet physical or mental health needs that have arisen as a result of disability, an accident or illness. If your overall care needs show that your primary need is a health need, you may be eligible for NHS Continuing healthcare. Continuing Care is provided in a variety of settings including Nursing Homes and Hospices; residential homes cannot provide Continuing Care. Care homes who deliver Continuing Care provide accommodation, meals, personal care and activities, but also have qualified nurses in constant attendance.  Many of these homes also provide more specialist dementia care.

End of Life Care/Palliative Care
Individuals who are suffering from a terminal, long term, or life threatening illness need highly personalised, active and compassionate care to maintain the highest possible quality of life. Care focuses on the control of unpleasant symptoms such as pain or nausea for the individual, as well as support, help and advice for the carer, family and friends.