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Health and Wellbeing
A Health and Well-being Wales Partner

Fortunately, residential care is not provided on a one-size-fits-all basis and the kind of residential care home you will be considering depends upon your wishes, your assessed need, your age and whether or not you need nursing care.

Residential care homes

Residential care homes provide a safe environment with care staff on hand 24 hours a day.

Residents receive help with washing, dressing, going to the toilet, eating and drinking, depending upon their care and support needs. Meals are provided.

Your health needs are met by visiting professionals, for example, your GP and a community nurse.

There is no requirement for residential care homes to have a qualified nurse on the premises at all times.

Many residential homes cater exclusively for older people or those with specific learning, sensory or physical disabilities.

If you have a social worker, ask them if they can recommend a suitable residential home. 

Nursing homes

A nursing home is a residential home which offers NHS-funded nursing care in addition to personal care.

If your needs are primarily health needs, then you probably need to go into a nursing home rather than an ordinary residential care home.

A nursing home must have a qualified nurse on duty at all times. There is usually a higher ratio of staff to residents to reflect the higher needs of residents.

EMI (Elderly Mentally Infirm) care homes

Specialist elderly mentally infirm (EMI) homes care for people with dementia who are no longer able to be looked after for at home.

EMI beds are also available in residential care and nursing home settings.

The Alzheimer’s Society has a useful factsheet to help you select a care home for someone with dementia.

Residential care homes are regulated services, which means they are registered with and inspected regularly by the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW).

Last updated: 27/04/2023