Introduction to residential care and nursing homes

If you need support that you cannot get in your own home, moving into a residential care or nursing home might suit you. The local Health and Social Care Trust can tell you about available services and how to get services.

Choosing a residential care or nursing home

You have the right to choose your residential care or nursing home. You should make sure the home you choose has the facilities, equipment and staff with the right training to meet your needs.

Assessing your care needs

 The Trust must assess your care needs and meet your needs within their available resources. Charities may also support people with specific disabilities.

Based on your assessed needs, the Trust will tell you how much they'll pay for your residential or nursing home care. If you want to live in a home that is more expensive, you might need to pay the difference.

Types of residential care or nursing homes

Some homes offer full time nursing care. Other homes support people with specific disabilities or medical needs. Staff in the local Trust will advise you about the type of home best for you.

Covering the cost

Health and Social Care  (HSC) professionals will assess your needs and help you find a suitable home.

They will assess your finances to work out what you can afford to pay for your residential or nusing home care. 

Temporary stays in a residential care or nursing home

You may need a temporary stay in a home to recover from an illness or as a break for you and your carer. You should also be able to stay temporarily to see if the home suits you. Some people also go to homes for day care.

How going into a home could affect your benefits

Moving into a home can affect the benefits you receive. It is important to claim all the benefits you're entitled to because you'll pay most of your benefits towards your residential care or nursing home fees. A temporary or trial stay in a home can also affect your benefits. 

Residential care and nursing homes and hospital

Sometimes you need to move to a home directly from hospital. On leaving hospital,  you have the right to choose the residential care or nursing home that best meets your needs.

You cannot be moved directly into a home against your will. Sometimes you'll need to go into hospital from a residential care or nursing home.

Residential care and nursing homes standards

In Northern Ireland, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) registers and inspects residential care and nursing homes. When you move into a home, they should tell you about the complaints procedure.

You can complain immediately to the home  or the local Trust. If you aren't happy with their response, you can contact RQIA.

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