Everything you need to know about nursing care

Live-in home care, care homes, residential facilities, 24 hour live in nursing care – when you’re struggling to find support for a relative the language can be confusing.

It can seem hard to understand the differences in the type of care offered so that you can work out exactly what is right for your family – so we've explained what is meant by nursing care, and how to find live in nurses for the elderly.

Its also important to understand the difference between private nursing care in own home and NHS led home nursing care.

If you think your loved one might need nursing care or clinically-led care, please get in touch with a Care Advisor – they'll be happy to help you find the care they need.

What is nursing care?

Simply put, nursing care is care that is provided and supervised by registered general nurses. In the home environment they could be works as live in nurses for the elderly. Technically, in home nursing care for elderly goes beyond that provided by most domiciliary and residential caregivers. It involves clinical care that can allow people with complex conditions and care needs to be safely supported. Nursing care is routinely offered in hospitals and hospices, but 24 hour live in nursing care can also be provided in the home or in a nursing home.

Nurses are able to deal with:

  • Tracheostomies
  • Monitor ventilation
  • Complex continence issues
  • Stomas
  • Catheters
  • PEG feeding or tube feeding

Qualified nurses have the training, experience and expertise to manage these challenging issues, so that the person they care for can live comfortably and with dignity. If your loved one has no complex medical conditions and simply needs support to live independently in their own home, a home carer instead of home care nursing may be the solution you need.

How does private nursing care differ from NHS funded nursing care?

NHS funded home nursing care is typically funded by the CCG as opposed to private nursing care which is funded out of pocket by the family. Typically the level of care for CCG funded NHS continuing nursing care is high and the complexity is significant. Private home care nurses, on the other hand, may offer more companionship and lighter personal care and domestic assistance as well as management of milder conditions that otherwise may be managed by a district nurse.

What is a nursing home?

A nursing home is a facility that provides residential care for elderly or disabled people with a nursing need. Nursing care homes are slight misnomer as these facilities are either known as care homes or nursing homes. Additionally the term EMI nursing home is used which means Elderly Mentally Infirm and is typically reserved for dementia patients.

They are sometimes referred to as skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities, care homes, old people's homes, or convalescent care homes, but the meaning of each term can sometimes vary depending on the circumstances.

Nursing homes are generally used by elderly people who don’t need hospital care but are unable to be cared for or looked after in their own homes.

Nursing homes will provide nursing services usually by a team of skilled nurse practitioners whose responsibility it is to care for the physical and mental needs of their patients, including any medical and emotional requirements they may have.

The vast majority of nursing homes have staff on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that all their patients’ needs are met.

What is the difference between a nursing home and other residential care?

Care homes and nursing homes (or care homes with nursing) are not the same thing. Although both describe residential facilities offering accommodation, meals, personal support and around-the-clock staff supervision, there are significant differences in the level of care provided.

As well as care assistants and other ancillary staff, nursing homes have registered nurses on duty 24 hours a day. This means that 24 hour live in nursing care will be able to safely care for people with complex and advanced diseases needing regular nursing assistance. Private nursing care in your own home means you can remain in a familiar location and surroundings with space for family to stay. You need live in nurses for the elderly in your own home.

Live in nursing care can offer more continuity of care, more familiar surrounding and allow family members more space when considered against residential care.

Who needs nursing care at home?

Home carers are able to help with everything from chores to feeding, toileting and self-care. Live-in carers can provide around-the-clock support, which can be invaluable in the later stages of dementia. However, for more complex conditions or advanced illnesses, more specialised support is necessary. Nursing care can be vital for people with progressive neurological conditions. These include MND or multiple sclerosis as well as individuals with severe strokes, brain and spinal cord injuries, advanced dementia or terminal cancer. For elderly nursing care, where needs are related to frailty and weakness, no specific interventions are required but live in nurses for the elderly may be recommended, or possibly a well trained live in carer for the elderly.

hometouch care guide

Funding nursing care

If someone has a healthcare rather than a social care need, they may be entitled to NHS continuing healthcare funding. This covers the full cost of care in their own home, or in a nursing home. People with dementia are often assessed as having social care not healthcare needs but they may be eligible to receive a weekly contribution towards funding for a lower level of nursing care.

Where to access nursing care?

You can find live in nurses for the elderly through an agency or through private advertising. Private employment can be cost-effective. However, complex care requirements make the need to arrange illness cover and to check paperwork and qualifications even more pressing. For this reason it is usually advisable to use a reputable agency for nursing care. The agency will vet all nurses, check references, oversee all aspects of care and take the hassle away. At hometouch, we specialise in sourcing experienced carers, including specialist nursing carers. If residential nursing care or 24 hour live in nursing care is needed, the NHS and Which? offer more information and search facilities.

If your loved one needs care, but not nursing care

As nursing care is specialised it might be that your loved one simply doesn’t need it. Unless they have a specific medical condition that requires specific medical expertise to ensure safety, an experienced home carer will answer your needs. Home carers are often experienced in dealing with all sorts of ongoing conditions and are able to support your loved one in their own home. Whether they need companionship, help around the house, help using the bathroom and getting dressed, or in keeping to their medication regime, a home carer can answer their needs.

What is live in nursing care at home?

Often older people are happier being nursed in their own home than in a medical facility as they feel safe and more comfortable in surroundings they are familiar with. They may also want to stay close to friends and family or be close to hobbies or other activities they have previously enjoyed doing. Live in nursing care at home is a great way for them to feel independent while still having the reassurance of round the clock, one to one nursing every day of the week.

Live-in nurses are carers that stay with an assigned elderly person to look after their varied needs. Generally, the nurse is chosen based on the requirements of the senior and their own individual skillset so that a good relationship is fostered, and the needs of the client are met.

Why have a live in nurse?

If your elderly relative has a serious health issue, disability, or terminal diagnosis, a live in nurse may be able to provide them with the care they require around the clock.

Live in nurses for elderly patients are experienced and trained to deal with a variety of specific health conditions and can apply continuous monitoring and care for their client which in turn can provide reassurance and security for both the client and their family.

What responsibilities can a live in nurse take on?

A live in nurse is trained and able to perform the vast majority of responsibilities a hospital nurse would be able to undertake, including:

  • Administration of medication
  • Changing of any dressings or the monitoring of how wounds are healing
  • The changing of catheter bags
  • Help with PEG feeding
  • Liaising with other healthcare professionals when required to ensure the client’s needs are met

What about emotional support?

A live in nurse is trained to give companionship and emotional support when and if required for elderly individuals. Loneliness and depression are common amongst the elderly and vulnerable people especially if they are living alone. A live-in nurse provides somebody to talk to and can perform simple social and well-being tasks, such as help reading a book, help with keeping an appointment, help cooking food, help with housework, as well as any other emotional support required.

How many hours does an in home nurse work?

In home nurses typically work around twelve hours per day with a break of two hours. While they only actively work for half of the day, they provide the reassurance of being physically present all day round, including throughout the night if required.

What is a nursing care plan?

As the name suggests, a nursing care plan is a document outlining a strategy for providing appropriate care to someone. There are a couple of different types of care plan – either drawn up by a hospital team, social services team or care provider. It’s a record of your preferences, your abilities, equipment you might need in care, nutritional and medical requirements, next of kin, points of contact if you have questions, information on the care itself and your personal budget (the amount allocated to you weekly for your care by the local authority). It’ll be reviewed and updated to reflect any changes and possible improvements as time goes on. Initially, there’ll be a regular review to make sure the plan is performing as it should, and this will be gradually reduced to annual checks.

How does it help?

It’s an important tool for the care recipient and their family, and for the person giving care. It’s a place where the care recipient’s wishes (for example Do Not Resuscitate orders) can be logged. At Hometouch, our Nursing team together with live in nurses for the elderly will work with the recipient and their family to develop a care plan, incorporating clinical needs as well as preferences and other points like dietary requirements and recreational interests.

Schedule a call with a hometouch Care Advisor to find out more about how we can help your loved one with exceptional care.

How do you get a care plan?

You can request an assessment from your local council’s social services. They’ll find out what support you need, and write this up into a care plan. The assessment will decide your level of need and eligibility for care, and then address the steps to offer appropriate care. You can apply for a needs assessment from your local council here.

Care plan examples for elderly patients

A nursing care plan is a way for healthcare officials to identify the needs of an elderly individual as well as recognising any risks they may face. It is also a way for nurses, patients, family members, and healthcare providers to communicate with each other and keep a track of health care needs and outcomes.

Care plans are considered to be either informal or formal:

  • An informal nursing care plan generally resides in a carer or nurse’s mind and is not documented in any way.
  • A formal nursing care plan is generally documented in either a written format or on a computer so that care details are both organised and readily available to all care givers.

A formal care plan can be further divided into individualised and standardised sub-categories.

  • A standardised care plan will specify the details of the nursing care required by a group of clients and will address their general needs as a whole.
  • An individualised care plan will be tailored to the needs of one unique client beyond what may already be specified in a standardised care plan.

Purposes of a Nursing Care Plan

The purpose of writing a nursing care plan is as follows:

  • To define the nurse’s role and help to identify what is required in terms of the client’s overall health and well-being. It can help healthcare professionals to understand what they need to do without having to constantly have the intervention of a doctor or physician.
  • To provide directions for the care of a client and to allow nurses to think critically about how they can best serve then. It can also allow the development of interventions and ideas for how to deal with specific situations that may arise from the client’s individual needs.
  • It allows for the continuity of care. The elderly client may have a variety of nurses visit throughout the week and without the nursing care plan, they may not know or understand what has happened before their arrival.
  • It allows for the documentation of care given and details any actions taken by the nursing staff or other health officials. Without the care plan, there will be no record or evidence that any care has been provided.
  • It allows care givers to document the client’s goals and needs. The relationship between nursing staff and the elderly person they are looking after should be a two way street and the client’s wishes and needs for their treatment should always be taken into consideration and central to plans.

Carer’s assessments

Carer’s assessments are slightly different, and are focused on the person giving care (often a friend or relative) as much as the care recipient. They’re primarily to decide on the level of support a carer will need when looking after someone. Which? have put together a checklist on how to prepare for a carer’s assessment.

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