What is a care home?

If you are looking for a care home, there are lots of options available.

Most people want to stay living in their own homes for as long as possible. Your own home is often the best place because you may have family and friends who live with you or nearby and you will be in a familiar environment. If you think you may need to move, it's a good idea to find out more about the kind of support you can get in your own home first. Having someone to help you at home will mean you can stay living independently for longer.


You may also want to consider other housing options, such as extra care and sheltered accommodation.


What is a care home?

Care homes are live-in facilities which provide food, accommodation and personal care for residents, as well as access to 24 hour medical care from trained medical professionals when required. There is usually an on-call doctor in case of emergencies, and other therapies and treatments such as physiotherapy are sometimes offered. Residents usually have their own bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and toilet, as well as access to a communal sitting room, dining room and often a garden.

Residential or nursing care?

One of the first things to consider when choosing a care home is whether you need a home that provides nursing care. All care homes for older people will provide some support with your personal care, but not all of them will provide nursing care. 

Care homes without nursing

Care homes without nursing are also known as residential homes. They provide a lower level of support and are for people who don't have complex needs and are less likely to need regular or urgent medical attention. The staff in such homes will generally be trained care workers rather than trained nurses, but should have all the skills required to provide the necessary support. 

Some homes provide both residential care and nursing care. This means that if someone's care needs increase after they move into residential care they can continue to receive the right level of care without having to move again.

Nursing homes

Care homes with nursing support people with higher, more complex levels of need. A percentage of the staff on duty at any time will be trained nurses working alongside the trained care workers. Someone may be more suited to a nursing home because:

  • they are unable to stand or walk without the support of two people and specialist equipment, such as a hoist
  • they have incontinence 
  • they have complex medical needs such as the need for a 'PEG' feed to receive all food and fluids, or the need for regular (several times per day) medical treatment from a qualified nurse
  • particularly challenging behaviour such as a tendency to be aggressive towards others.

How much does it cost?

The cost of care homes varies, often depending on the facilities provided and the amount and type of care and support you need. Care homes with nursing tend to cost more because they provide a greater level of support. If you need nursing care, the NHS will pay the nursing element of your fees. 


If you're going to live in a care home, you can enter into a private agreement with the home and pay all the costs yourself, or you may be able to get support from the Council. If you are making your own arrangements, you should always ask your care home to tell you the costs upfront.

We always recommend you approach the Council for an assessment, no matter what your circumstances or financial situation. Having an assessment is free of charge and it can help you and others understand your needs better and will help you think through the options. If you decide to have an assessment, you will be given a financial assessment to complete. This will help the Council to consider whether you are eligible for financial support towards your care and support.


If you are eligible for support from the Council, they will work with you and your family to find a suitable care home for you. Even if you’re not eligible for support from the Council, they will always give you information and advice about local care homes and let you know if there are any other services which may be able to help you. 


Useful contacts:

Richmond Council Adult Access Team
Address: Adult Social Services, Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
Phone: 020 8891 7971
Minicom: 18001 020 8891 7971
Email: adultsocialservices@richmond.gov.uk

Richmond Council Quality Assurance Team
Phone: 020 8831 6446
Email: qualityassurance@richmond.gov.uk