Back to blogs

Home Care vs Care Home - What is the difference?

For many families, realising that a loved one needs extra support at home can be tough, especially as for many it comes about very suddenly. A sudden need for care at home assistance could follow a big change in someone’s health such as suffering a fall, a stroke, or a new life-changing diagnosis.

When considering long-term care for the first time, many people are led to believe that there are only a couple of options available to them - Home Care vs. Care Home, but there’s much more to it than that. So, before you start to worry about the pressures of caring for someone at home by yourself, or consider moving your loved one into a care home, let us help you consider other options that might be more suitable for your loved one.

At Nurseplus Care at home, we can help you explore the different home care and care home options available to you. We understand that everyone’s needs are individual and that you’ll need to take some time to discover what type of home care support is best for your loved one.

Live-in care or visiting home care are also excellent options that can often be more affordable alternatives to a residential setting and can allow your loved one to continue living in the familiarity of their own home.

Without further ado, let’s go through the different types of care available so that you and your loved ones can take the first steps toward making an informed decision that’s right for you. It’s important to remember that different options suit different people’s needs, so there are no right or wrong decisions.

Residential care homes: an establishment where people live when they need substantial help with their personal care.

Care homes, which can also be referred to as residential homes, provide a number of residents with 24-hour support. This can be anything from providing personal care such as washing, continence support, and dressing, to support with meals and mobility. Although many care homes tend to offer general support, primarily for elderly individuals, there are more specialised care homes that offer specialty care for different kinds of conditions and ages.



There is support available for residents 24/7It is not always possible to receive 1:1 care – it is usually 1 carer supporting 4-6 residents. This can also lead to a higher number of falls

    • Independence is limited – residents are not able to always choose when they get up, get dressed, or go to bed.

    • All meals are prepared for residents and will be full of all the nutrients needed

    • There is less choice when choosing a care home if you are receiving financial help

    • Staff can often help with administering medication

    • It is an unfamiliar setting, without home comforts and there may be a limit to the amount of possessions you can bring with you. It can take time to settle in and loneliness can be an issue

    • Most care homes have a schedule full of activities and social events

    • All residents will have their own private room to make feel like home, some will even have an en-suite and small living room space.

Nursing homes: an establishment where people who need complex delivered by a Registered Nurse live.

Nursing homes are very similar to care homes as they also provide 24-hour support to a number of residents and plan regular social activities for residents to take part in.

The difference between nursing homes and care homes is that a nursing home is staffed by registered nurses who provide care for residents with more complex medical needs. The nursing teams are often supported by healthcare assistants who have been trained to identify symptoms and changes in resident’s conditions.



    • There are nurses on hand 24/7 to support acute medical needs

    • There is less control over the possessions that can be brought with you and time/activities with family can be more restricted

    • All meals are prepared for residents with nutritional needs taken into account

    • Daily routines need to be adhered to, so timings for personal care and meals can be quite regimented

    • Funding is more readily available if nursing care is needed

    • It is one of the most expensive care options if funding is not available

    • Activities tailored to the resident's abilities are organised by staff and create a sense of community

Visiting care: care is provided on visits to your home and is dependent on the type of care you need.

For some, a sudden change in care needs can mean you only need help with a few tasks or activities at home. Visiting care is ideal for these people as it gives them the comfort of being able to receive care in the comfort of their own homes. Visiting care services can be very flexible. Whether you just need someone to pop in a couple of times a week, once a day, or at certain times throughout the day, your visits can be planned around your lifestyle and needs.

Dedicated visiting carers will be on hand to assist you with a wide range of tasks. From preparing meals to personal care, or offering medication support and helping you get to and from appointments. Simply liaise with your home care team and share your schedule, and your care needs and they can plan their visits to suit your routine.



    • Dedicated 1:1 care

    • Care is not available around the clock

    • ​Less disruption to overall living situations

    • ​You may not always have the same carer visiting you

    • Care visits can be set to longer or shorter time periods

    • ​There is a set length of time that your carer is with you, so additional requests that aren’t in the care plan may not always be possible to carry out before the carer needs to leave

    • ​Care visit frequency can increase as and when required

    • ​Options to choose carers for specific tasks

Live-in care: care is provided by a fully-trained carer who lives with you in your own home.

Live-in care is another care at home option that will enable you to live independently in the comfort of your own home as a long-term option. We believe live-in care is ideal for a person who requires round-the-clock care. With live-in care from Nurseplus Care at home, you’ll be matched with a dedicated carer who will come and live with you in your home.

Your live-in carerwill always be available to offer support and assistance. Whether you need companionship, help with medication support, or have more complex needs, your Live-in care plan will be tailored to your lifestyle and needs. One of the main differences between a residential care home and live-in care is that you are guaranteed one-to-one care, which can make all the difference to your independence and your ability to really connect to your carer.

Live-in care can result in improved physical and mental health outcomes by preventing accidents in the home, spotting changes in health sooner, and maintaining mobility as well as combatting loneliness and feelings of isolation.

It’s important to note that live-in care is not the same as 24-hour care. Your live-in carer will be on standby to provide emergency care overnight should you need it, but their routine will mirror yours in order to accommodate your day-to-day care needs. If you feel that you might need dedicated care throughout the night, 24-hour care or a residential care home setting may be a better option for your needs.

Some other things to consider when choosing live-in care are:

Space– Do you have enough space to provide your live-in carer with comfortable living arrangements and privacy?

Internet Access– This is essential for live-in carers so they can stay in touch with their Nurseplus Care at home team.

Acceptance– Are you willing and able to welcome a stranger into your home? Some people can find living with someone outside of their family or friendship circle daunting.

That said there are some exceptional benefits to choosing live-in care such as consistent companionship, family respite, and support for degenerative conditions such as dementia. Your live-in carer will become a part of your family and a trusted, reliable person who can help you remain in the familiar surroundings of your home, belongings, and even your beloved pet. Many residential care homes will not accommodate your pet so, by choosing live-in care, you’ll be able to remain at home with everything you love most.



    • Allowing people to remain independent in the comfort of their own homes

    • Live-in care can be an expensive care solution

    • Tailoring key daily tasks like cooking, socialising, and housekeeping to an individual

    • Cohabitation with a stranger can be worrying for some

    • Options for continued all-day support for more complex needs

    • Costs can be incurred to accommodate certain home adaptions that are readily available in care homes

    • A choice of funding resources

    • Carer needs must also be considered in the home setting

Hopefully, this has given you a little more insight into the types of care available and what option is best suited to your needs and preferences, but if you need any more help please contact our friendly Care at home team on 08000 622 622.

Nurseplus Care at home is our fully compliant homecare service offering a practical and affordable alternative to moving into a residential setting. Whether you require weekly, daily, or Live-in care, we can build a plan to suit your every need. 

Posted-on September 12, 2023 By Nurseplus Care at home