Residential or nursing homes are also known as care homes. This page provides a brief guide if you are considering your care options.
For more details about finding a care home and what to do if you have any problems regarding a care home, contact Age NI.
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.
You may be able to keep getting housing benefit for your home if you move into a care home temporarily.
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 social services. They will carry out an assessment of your needs. Many people find it helpful to get advice before their assessment; if you would like some guidance telephone Age NI on 0808 808 7575.
Social services will suggest the best form of care for you. This could include:
- having care provided in your own home
- moving to a care home for a short period of time
- moving to a care home permanently.
If social services 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 social services 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 from Age NI by telephone on 0808 808 7575 if you think your wishes aren't being taken into account. The Elderly Accommodation Counsel (EAC) has information on retirement and care homes.
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;
- does not cost much more than the care homes that social work already pay for in your area;
- is prepared to accept the contract from your social work department.
You can search for care homes that suit your needs at the Elderly Accommodation Counsel's website.
If you want to move outside your local area, social services 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, social services can make a special arrangement for you to do so.
Social services will be responsible for paying for your accommodation wherever you go, however, remember you may have to make a contribution.
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