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What Is Nursing Care?

July 1st, 2024

Home care, nursing care or palliative care; with so many options out there, choosing the right type of care home can feel daunting. Understanding the different types of care and how they work can make the decision process smoother and alleviate any worries. In this guide, we’ll discuss the various types of nursing care available and who they may be suitable for to help you make an informed decision.

What Is Nursing Care?

people holding hands as part of a blog about what is a nursing home

Nursing care refers to the specialised healthcare services provided to residents living in long-term care facilities. This type of care is essential for individuals who require assistance with daily activities and medical needs in a residential care setting. Nursing care in care homes includes medication management, monitoring of vital signs, and coordination with other healthcare providers to deliver an individual’s care plan. The goal of nursing care in care homes is to ensure the well-being and comfort of residents while promoting their overall health and quality of life.

Different Types Of Nursing Care

When it comes to nursing care, each individual has unique needs and preferences. It’s important to find the right balance of support, familiarity, and independence to suit your circumstances. When assessing the options available, different types of nursing care have distinguishing differences. Let’s explore some common care types you may wish to consider:

Home Care

Domiciliary care, also known as home care, involves care staff travelling to the homes of individuals in need of assistance. This service can be arranged through the local council or private agencies. Home care is suitable for people who prefer to live in their own homes to retain a level of independence, but require help with some daily activities. The number of visits per day is pre-arranged to suit the needs of the individual and the carer can help with various tasks from personal hygiene to meal preparation.

Live-In Care

When visiting care is no longer suitable, live-in care could be the solution. Live-in care involves a dedicated, full-time carer moving into the home to provide support with nursing care needs as well as domestic tasks. This is an effective way to enable the individual to live comfortably within their own home whilst receiving the assistance they require. From meal preparation and medication prompting to housekeeping and personal hygiene, the carer will be at hand to provide help with a wide range of support tasks. Additionally, a live-in carer can be a great source of companionship because they aren’t rushing from one home to the next, and have time to build a good relationship with the person they’re caring for.

Nursing Home

The term “nursing home” and “care home” are often used interchangeably, which can sometimes lead to confusion. In essence, a nursing home does the same job as a residential care home in offering 24-hour support to residents, but with the added benefit of having registered nurses on site who can provide medical care. Nursing homes are typically for residents who require regular nursing care or medical attention due to severe disabilities.

Some of the many tasks registered nurses can assist with in a nursing home are:

  • Managing complex medical programs
  • Wound care
  • Nutritional support via a PEG tube
  • Complex catheter care
  • Access to specialist equipment like hoists, specialised chairs, and stand aids.

Whilst this list isn’t comprehensive, it provides a good idea of the wide range of help a nursing care team can provide.

seniors living in nursing home to show who needs nursing home care

Complex Care

Individuals with long-term, chronic, or progressive health conditions could benefit from complex care services. With an experienced care team of professionals on hand, each service user can live a dignified and fulfilling life.

Complex care covers various health conditions and types of healthcare, such as:

  • Severe mental health disorders
  • Learning disabilities and developmental conditions
  • Catheter, bowel, and stoma care
  • Neurological disorders
  • Acquired brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Gastronomy care

Complex care providers aim to enable individuals to lead the life they desire in their own homes, surrounded by their loved ones. For that purpose, complex care teams offer flexible care packages that prioritise the individual’s preferences.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is a specialised form of care that provides comfort and support to individuals who have recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. This includes:

  • Advanced illnesses such as cancer, dementia, or motor neurone disease
  • An elderly or frail individual who has a coexisting condition that could lead to end-of-life
  • An individual with an acute condition caused by a traumatic event such as an accident or stroke
  • If an existing condition puts the individual at risk of a sudden decline that could lead to death.

By addressing both the physical and emotional needs of patients and their families, palliative care helps to enhance the individual’s quality of life. Delivered by teams made up of different healthcare professionals such as nurses, GPs, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, palliative care can be provided across various settings such as care homes, hospitals, hospices or at home.

End-Of-Life Care

A form of palliative care, end-of-life care offers additional support for individuals who are close to the end of their life and is typically provided by a GP, district or community nurse, healthcare assistant, care home or hospice. Whilst it’s not always easy to predict how long someone may have left to live, it is predominantly offered to patients whose death is thought to be imminent. By recognising the importance of each individual’s wishes, end-of-life care respects and upholds the rights of every person to express their preferred location for end-of-life care and where they wish to spend their final moments. By documenting this in a personalised care plan, it can be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect any changes in their circumstances. 

a care plan being signed as part of a guide to what is a nursing home

Residential Care vs. Nursing Care

The fundamentals of residential care and nursing care are similar. Both facilities offer 24-hour care including meals, snacks, laundry, personal care, and help with tasks such as bathing, shaving and dressing. However, the biggest difference between the two is that nursing homes offer round-the-clock support by registered nurses on-site, catering to residents with more complex or long term medical conditions.

Who Is Nursing Care Suitable For?

There are various health conditions that may require nursing support. Some examples include people suffering from the after-effects of a stroke, individuals with neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, those with long-term health conditions or disabilities, and those that require rehabilitative care. As part of nursing care, registered nurses work closely with other healthcare professionals to create and implement personalised care plans that address the unique needs of each patient.

Who Is Eligible For NHS Funded Nursing Care?

Before a decision is made surrounding eligibility for NHS-funded nursing care, an initial assessment is carried out for NHS continuing healthcare.

Eligibility for NHS-funded nursing care is determined if:

  • You do not qualify for NHS continuing healthcare but an assessment has taken place and it has been confirmed that care from a registered nurse is required 
  • You live in a care home which is registered to provide nursing care.

What To Consider When Deciding On Nursing Care

There are many considerations when deciding on a nursing care or care home facility. Ultimately, the decision should be led by the individual’s requirements, wishes, abilities and limitations. However, some of the worthwhile factors to take into account are:

  • Location: Some care homes are based in rural locations with large open gardens whilst some are in more built-up areas, so keep in mind if this would be somewhere that your loved one would feel at home. 
  • Facilities: Assess how on-site facilities could improve day-to-day life and would they fit in with current interests. For example, what benefits would having a programme of scheduled activities bring, and would a spacious landscaped garden have a positive impact mentally and physically? 
  • Care services: It can be difficult to choose a nursing care home for either yourself or a loved one, but most care homes will welcome you to have a consultation with the home manager or a senior member of the team, so they can give their expert advice on what they think is the right path.
  • Costs: In October 2025 the UK Government plans to put a cap on how much individuals have to spend on care over their lifetime, however, costs still do play a big part in the decision process. As there are different types of care provisions available, the cost of residential care can differ to nursing home care so it is important to find out the fees, what is included and to budget accordingly.

Nursing Care At New Care Homes

New Care Homes have a wide range of locations across the UK offering both residential care and nursing care to older adults. Our compassionate and experienced staff deliver round-the-clock care, depending on the needs of the resident. All of our homes feature sumptuous interiors and a host of other features, such as fine dining, hair salons and outdoor spaces to relax and get back to nature.

If you’re ready to find out more, please contact us to arrange a visit. We’d love to show you around a care home near you in Manchester, Cheshire or Leeds, and explain more about the residential and nursing care we offer.