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Care homes

Residential or nursing homes are also known as care homes. This page provides a brief guide if you are considering your care options.

Why would I move into a care home?

You may want to move into a care home if you find it difficult to look after yourself and it is not possible for you to receive the care you need in your own home.

Some care homes just provide personal care. This can include:

  • help with washing, bathing and showering
  • help to manage continence
  • help to take medication.

You will need a care home which also provides nursing care if:

  • you are extremely frail
  • you are bedridden
  • you have a medical condition that requires you to have frequent medical attention from a doctor or a nurse.

Would I have to move in permanently?

Care homes don't just provide permanent accommodation. Many care homes cater for people who only need to stay temporarily. This could be to:

  • allow you to convalesce after an illness
  • give you and your carer a rest from each other
  • let you try out living in a care home to see how you like it.

I am considering moving to a care home, what do I do first?

If you are considering moving into a care home you should contact the social work department at your local council. They will carry out an assessment of your needs. You can find contact details  on your council's website.

Social work will suggest the best form of care for you. This could include:

If the social work department suggest that you require care, they will be responsible for arranging and paying for this, but they will also carry out a financial assessment to see if you may be able to contribute to paying for a care home.

Do I have to move into a care home?

You do not have to move into a care home if the social work department suggest it following an assessment. If you are mentally capable of looking after yourself, you can refuse to go into care or refuse to accept care in your home. Your wishes should always be taken into account when any suggestions are made and the final decision should be yours. Get advice if you think your wishes aren't being taken into account - you can search for advice agencies at the website of the Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC).

Can I choose which care home I move into?

If you are going to move into a care home, you should be allowed to decide which one, so long as it:

  • is suitable for your assessed needs, and
  • does not cost much more than the care homes that social work already pay for in your area, and
  • is prepared to accept the contract from your social work department.

You can search for care homes that suit your needs at the EAC's website.

If you want to move outside your local area, your social work department will still have to arrange this for you. If you wish to move to another council's area or to another country within the UK, your social work department can make a special arrangement for you to do so. The social work department that assessed your needs will be responsible for paying for your accommodation wherever you go. (Remember you may have to make a contribution.)

Where can I find out more?

  • You can find more information about care homes on the Gov.uk and Scottish Government websites.
  • For more details about finding a care home and what to do if you have any problems regarding a care home, go to the Age UK website.

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The important points

  • Ask what kind of care the care home provides, because some only give personal care, which means help with washing, continence and taking medication.
  • Many care homes allow you to stay temporarily, for example after an illness or to let you try it to see if it suits you.
  • Your first step is speaking to your social work department who can help assess your care needs and help you find a care home, even if you need to move out of their area.

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us

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