Nursing homes are like residential care homes, but they also provide medical care from a qualified nurse who is on site 24 hours a day.

Activities in a nursing home

Just because a nursing home has fewer active residents, this doesn’t mean that activities won’t be organised. In addition to the following visiting professionals:

  • the local GP
  • district nurse
  • physiotherapist
  • chiropodist
  • holistic therapists
  • hairdresser
  • vicar, priest or leader from other religious denominations

many nursing homes will organise events such as small groups playing or singing music, storytellers and maybe a pat dog or two.

Choosing a nursing home over a residential care home

It might well be the case that the circumstances of your relative’s health means that this decision is taken out of your hands. With the average age of residents moving into care now being 85 years old and more and more people living in their own homes for longer with assistance, it is increasingly likely that you will be choosing a nursing home than a residential care home.

However, if you are in any doubt, read When should your relative consider a care home?.

Nursing home fees

Not surprisingly, nursing home fees are higher than residential care home fees, especially if your relative has dementia.

However, if your relative’s needs assessment specifies that he or she needs nursing care and a place in a nursing home, they should qualify for NHS-funded nursing care.

Similarly, if your relative needs a lot of medical help, which includes hospital-type equipment and support, he or she may be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare.

Both of these payments are made weekly by the NHS directly to the care home and aren’t means tested.

If your relative is a self-funder, this should be deducted from their fees by the care home. 

You can read more about all aspects of nursing home fees in Financing a care home

More information

Page last reviewed: 31 March 2015
Next review due: 30 September 2016