Search for information, advice and guidance

Residential and nursing homes


Moving into residential or nursing care is a major step and one that is often taken under difficult circumstances.

There are two types of care homes, residential care homes and nursing homes.

Residential care homes

Residential care homes provide:

  • help with personal care (washing and dressing)
  • emotional support
  • help so that you can live as independently as possible

This level of care cannot be provided in your own home.

There are also specialist residential homes for people needing more support e.g. those with a dementia type illness or significant levels of confusion.

Nursing homes

Nursing homes care for people who are very frail and may need care from a registered nurse.

They cater for people with assessed nursing needs and may need specialist support.


You can contact care providers directly if you are happy to make your own arrangements to pay for residential or nursing care.

You could arrange a period of respite or short-term care so you can find more information about the care offered in a particular home and whether this is suitable for your needs.

Help from the council

If you would like to look at the possibility of council funding, an assessment of your needs will take place. You are entitled to an assessment even if you are likely to be paying the full cost of your care.

This will be followed by a financial assessment to look at your ability to pay for your care. See our Charging Policy for Residential Services to see if you are entitled to financial support from the council.

Choosing a home

If you are paying the full cost yourself then you can choose any home within your budget. Should you need funding in the future we will help you choose the right home based on our assessment of your needs.

If you are eligible for funding from Adult Social Care, and need to move into a care home you can, within reason, choose the home. We can help you with any arrangements to move into the home.

You can get a list of approved residential and nursing homes from the Care Quality Commission.

You can also search for local residential and nursing homes using the Care Advice Buckinghamshire marketplace.


A contract will be drawn up when you are to move into a home, it should include:

  • fees payable and by whom (you, the council, NHS, a relative or other);
  • care and services covered by the fee;
  • additional services to be paid for over and above those included in the fees;
  • how often the fees may rise and the basis for any rises;
  • fees payable if you have to stay in hospital while living in the care home;
  • rights and obligations (yours and the care home providers) and consequences if not adhered to;
  • terms and conditions of your occupancy, including period of notice;
  • restrictions (for example, smoking, or pets, etc); and
  • complaints procedure

If your care needs change

If your needs do change, a care plan will be drawn up which describes your specific needs, taking into account your views and preferences. You will receive a copy of this which will be reviewed should your needs change.

If your health deteriorates to such an extent that the home is no longer able to look after you appropriately, staff will discuss possible alternatives with you and carry out a further assessment.

If the council is funding your care, then we will also be involved in helping you review your needs.