What is residential care?

20 June 2022

When investigating options for care for the elderly, people can often be left confused by the myriad of different terms and types of care on offer. Below we have listed the various terms that are used and an explanation of each, simply click on the heading to reveal more detail about each subject.

Residential Care

Residential care is a term used to describe the general care and support provided in a standard elderly care home. It can often be referred to as “personal care” or even “assisted living” and usually involves help with basic needs such as washing, dressing, mobility assistance and so on. This is generally what is required for most of our residents at our Hotels. Often, “residential care homes” are simply referred to as “care homes” where as “nursing homes” are referred to by the Care Quality Commission as “care homes with nursing”.

A care home is a residential setting where a number of older people live, usually in single rooms, and have access to on-site care services twenty four hours a day. A home registered simply as a care home will generally provide personal care and support such as help with washing, dressing and giving medication. Further assistance can be given such as helping to eat meals, promoting mobility to keep agile and so on. Some care homes are registered to meet a specific care need, for example dementia or terminal illness/end of life care.

Here are some examples (and by no means an exhaustive list) of what support can be requested or expected in regards to residential/personal care:

In the morning

  • Assistance with waking and preparing for the day
  • Bathing or showering
  • Applying lotions and creams as required
  • Oral hygiene (brushing teeth, denture care etc.)
  • Applying make-up, help with hair styling
  • Support with shaving
  • Foot care
  • Dressing

During the day

  • Assisting to ambulate around the home and its grounds
  • Helping to the toilet, including using a commode or bed pan
  • Assistance at meal times as required
  • Ensuring residents have the opportunity for social interaction with others (as per their wishes)
  • Making sure that residents are well hydrated and taking necessary fluids

Through the night

  • Preparing for bed
  • Repositioning in bed, to stretch and prevent bed sores
  • Changing continence pads, along with cleaning intimate areas
  • Changing or maintaining a stoma or catheter bag, or other form of clinical intervention

During personal care and throughout the day, our staff will look for signs of malaise and report concerns to management should they feel that your health is in anyway compromised. This can give you peace of mind that someone is always looking to ensure your health and wellbeing. We also ensure that any prescribed medications are taken as necessary throughout the day and based on whatever prescribed schedule has been suggested.

Residential care is often provided for people that may have difficulty living independently, however some older people prefer to live in a residential care facility due to it providing security, social interaction and ongoing support and assistance that is unobtainable through care at home (i.e. domiciliary care). People often have the misconception that residential care is a “last resort” and only need a care home when they are very unwell or completely unable to manage, however there are many residents that simply enjoy the many benefits a care home has to offer.

All of the AgeCare Care Homes are designated as residential care homes with dementia, but we also provide further caring facilities for palliative care, convalescent care (i.e. when recovering from an operation) and respite care.

What sets AgeCare apart from other care homes you may have seen or visited is quite simply the quality of both care and the surroundings in which this is provided. We have maintained this quality for over forty years and this continues to be our number one priority and raison d’étre.

To view more information about the varying types of care on offer, use the menu to the left to choose the topic of interest. Should you be looking for further advice beyond what is listed here, be sure to contact us directly where one of our experienced team will be able to help with any questions you may have.

Respite Care

Providing care for those suffering from the many forms of dementia takes dedicated and skilled staff to be able to manage the many traits of which dementia can effect a person.

Even though many families take great joy in providing care to their loved ones so that they can remain at home, the physical, emotional and financial consequences for the family caregiver can be overwhelming without some support, such as respite. Respite provides the much needed temporary break from the often exhausting challenges faced by the family caregiver.

The importance of respite cannot be overlooked, without it, not only can families suffer economically and emotionally, caregivers themselves may face serious health and social risks as a result of stress associated with continuous care giving. Three fifths of family caregivers age 19-64 surveyed recently by the Commonwealth Fund reported fair or poor health, one or more chronic conditions, or a disability, compared with only one-third of non caregivers.

AgeCare Care Homes is one of the only care providers in England that specialise in offering respite availability throughout the year and we allow you to book up to a year in advance of the actual stay. If you’re planning a family holiday but are worried about leaving an elderly relative behind, we can reserve a short term stay at any one of our hotels for them so that you can enjoy your well deserved holiday, safe in the knowledge that your relative is being treated with the very highest standard of care and also being able to enjoy a holiday of their own!

Dementia Care

Read more about dementia care in our dementia care guide.

Nursing Care

Nursing care or a “care home with nursing” as defined by the CQC is very similar to residential care, offering many of the services that a residential care home normally would. However, a clear distinction is that all care provided within a “nursing home” is supervised by registered nurses who are on site 24 hours a day.

Nursing care caters more specifically for people with specialist requirements in regards to their medical care. Such people may have an illness or medical condition that requires frequent medical attention, meaning that that they would require a higher level of support than that provided within a residential care setting.

Nursing homes are usually equipped with more specialist equipment to cater for a higher level of needs for their residents. Generally they will have more sophisticated equipment to support those with severe mobility issues as well as equipment to provide constant monitoring of acute medical conditions.

AgeCare Care Homes is not registered to provide nursing care, however we do still support those suffering from mental health needs such as dementia (which is not necessarily deemed a nursing care requirement). Therefore, if you are looking for a home to support a loved one with a higher level of need, it would still be in your best interest to contact us so that we can discuss this with you personally and provide an assessment for them.

Palliative/End of Life Care

Palliative care is the active holistic care of residents with advanced progressive illness. Management of pain and other symptoms and provision of psychological, social and spiritual support is paramount. The goal of palliative care is achievement of the best quality of life for our residents and their families. Many aspects of palliative care are also applicable earlier in the course of the illness in conjunction with other treatments.

Palliative care aims to:

  • Affirm life and regard dying as a normal process
  • Provide relief from pain and other distressing symptoms
  • Integrate the psychological and spiritual aspects of residential care
  • Offer a support system to help residents live as actively as possible until death
  • Offer a support system to help the family cope during the resident’s illness and in their own bereavement

All of our care hotels offer palliative care for both new and existing residents. We strive to make life as pleasant as possible even in the most difficult of circumstances, ensuring our residents are comfortable and cared for so that they can enjoy their time with us and more importantly the precious company of their loved ones.

The AgeCare Care Homes group is a member of the National Gold Standards Framework whose goals are similar to ours in that they aim to achieve the best quality of life for residents particularly towards the end of life. The Gold Standards Framework exists to help deliver a ‘gold standard of care’ for all people nearing the end of their lives. The GSF work in conjunction with hundreds of care homes across the UK, allowing it to team resources together to help provide the highest standards of care possible for residents and their families.

We work to achieve the ‘Goals of Gold Standards Framework’ for both our residents and their families by trying to provide the following:

  • Physical symptoms are anticipated and reduced where possible, before they cause problems
  • That there is a feeling of choice and control and that choices around preferred place of care are discussed with the resident then recorded, maybe in an advanced care plan or associated document
  • The resident feels supported and informed and potential problems are anticipated and reduced. This involves staff trying to anticipate the needs of a resident to be able to give the right care, at the right time and in the right way
  • Family or carers feel enabled, informed and involved in the residents care and to be supported as much as possible
  • That our staff, the GP and Nursing team confidently work together as a team, communicate well and are enabled to provide the best in care

Domiciliary/Home Care

Domiciliary (or home) care is simply the facilitation to maintain a persons independence in their own home, but having tasks such as cooking meals, cleaning etc. to be taken care of by a primary care giver (usually a family member) or a care assistant.

While this type of care does indeed provide independence to said person, it is generally only suitable for those that are very able to perform everyday tasks and who only require the very minimum of aid to get by in their daily routines. Often, people choose to stay at home due to a tainted image of what an “old peoples home” might be like.

Once the person starts to require additional aid, this can often put extra strain on the primary carer who, through no fault of their own, will often find it difficult to cope and potentially begin to blame themselves when the person requiring care begins to deteriorate in both health and mental state.

Domiciliary care can also become very expensive (compared to the fees of a care home say) when those in need of care become completely dependent and require 24 hour support, plus aid with dressing and washing etc.

Local councils are generally trying to keep people in their homes for as long as possible, although we agree this can be a good thing, we also believe that a care hotel such as ours is able to provide the independence and total care that an elderly person would need, at a very affordable price and with absolute professionalism. We believe this allows our residents to fully enjoy the latter stages of their life without having to worry about when the next visit of their primary carer will be.

Sheltered Housing

Sheltered Housing is the next step often taken from those that prefer domiciliary care opposed to residential care. Sheltered Housing is often a secure apartment block, specifically designed for the elderly, that allows the residents to enjoy their own independence but with the knowledge that the block is being maintained by a warden or supervisor, usually twenty four hours a day.

Although the warden doesn’t generally have any care providing experience, they will be there to ensure that the resident is well and acts as first port of call should there be any problems or emergencies that need to be addressed. They will generally make daily checks on their residents well being, liase with family members or doctors as necessary and generally ensure the day to day running of the scheme is maintained.

Sheltered Housing is again useful for those who are able bodied and look forward to providing and caring for themselves, but like to have the security of someone nearby looking out for them, as well as being in a surrounding that is more suited to a retired life.

Unfortunately Sheltered Housing can often be expensive, requiring the resident to sell their previous home to buy into the new scheme. Although sometimes these maybe provided for by the local authority (dependent on a needs assessment etc.) the waiting lists involved are often very lengthy and can cause distress when one is left in their own home without the security they feel they require.

We again believe that Sheltered Housing does have it’s place, but those looking for a more relaxed retirement, with the ability to enjoy their latter years in comfort, happiness and familiar surroundings could just as well enjoy one of our care hotels as they would a sheltered complex.

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