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What is Residential Care?


Residential care is a core care service offered to vulnerable people in the community, designed to help them lead fulfilling lives. This type of care provides a safe and secure living environment for individuals who are elderly, have a physical disability or suffer with mental health difficulties.

But what exactly is residential care, and what do residential care staff do? In this article, we delve into the world of residential care, providing you with all the information you need to succeed as a care worker in a care home.

The Definition of Residential Care

Residential care refers to the long-term support provided within a residential care home setting. The overall goal of residential care is to provide a safe and supportive environment for those who cannot cope with living independently at home.

The two main types of care homes are:

  • Residential care homes – these focus on offering assistance with personal care tasks, such as washing, dressing, medication management and socialising.
  • Nursing care homes – they also provide personal care support, with the addition of a qualified nurse on site 24/7 to offer medical care when required.

Specialist care homes are also available. These are specifically tailored to help support people with complex conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or terminal illnesses.

What Does a Residential Care Home Offer?

Care homes provide a residential setting in which vulnerable adults can live and gain access to round-the-clock care and support. Individuals can receive long-term, short-term, emergency, palliative and respite care within a care home. Although they mainly cater for elderly people, care homes are also available to other vulnerable adults over the age of 18.

Individuals will gain access to housing, meals, transportation, socialisation, and assistance with day-to-day living. Housing is offered in the form of purpose-built accommodation, with residents having their own bedroom and en-suite bathroom. All meals and housekeeping services are provided, including cleaning and laundry. 

Residential care homes usually include shared communal areas such as a living room or dining room, as well as an outdoor garden area. Some care homes even have hair salons, cafés or bars on site. Family members and friends are allowed to visit during set hours, with regular social activities organised for individuals receiving care. Regular personal care tasks are offered on a daily basis, and visits from other health professionals can also be arranged.

What Do Residential Care Staff Do?

Residential care workers offer assistance with a wide range of care and support tasks, which are designed to improve the quality of life for vulnerable individuals. They are responsible for ensuring that care home residents are well looked after and that all needs are met, as set out within individual care plans. Examples of typical tasks include:

  • Personal care tasks such as getting out of bed, washing, dressing, grooming, and going to the toilet.
  • Managing and administering medications, as well as performing routine health checks.
  • Cooking and preparing nutritious meals, taking any dietary needs and preferences into account.
  • Support with physical and mental exercises.
  • Assistance with social activities and hobbies such as arts and crafts, gardening, walking, and group outings.
  • Housekeeping and laundry services i.e. cleaning communal areas and ensuring residents have clean bedding.
  • Conducting regular health assessments and monitoring any changes in a resident’s condition.

The Benefits of Residential Care

Safe & Secure Environment

One of the biggest benefits of care homes is that they offer residents a safe and secure environment in which to live. Trained staff are on hand 24/7 to provide necessary care and support, offering total peace of mind to residents and their families. This is particularly important for individuals with complex care needs who may be unsafe when living alone i.e. people with dementia.

Help with Daily Care Tasks

Another advantage of care homes is that residential care assistants can help support individuals with a wide range of personal care tasks such as bathing, dressing and medication management. This gives residents the support they need, whilst also allowing them to maintain independence where possible.

Social Interaction

Many elderly people can become lonely and isolated when living at home if they have limited opportunities for social interaction. This can have a huge impact upon both their mental and physical state. Living in a residential care home allows individuals to enjoy constant companionship from those around them, as well as taking part in various group outings. This fosters a sense of belonging and can greatly improve quality of life.

Find Your Next Role in Residential Care

Whether you’re looking to take your healthcare career to the next stage or are actively seeking a new opportunity that is both fulfilling and rewarding, Safehands Recruitment can help. Get in touch with one of our specialist recruiters via to kickstart your career in residential care.

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