Finding a suitable place to live

Extra care housing and care homes

Extra care housing

You may be thinking of moving, or have to leave your home, because of life changes or health problems. In Peterborough, accommodation options include sheltered housing, Extra Care housing and traditional care homes.

A move to Extra Care housing means you can remain independent, but also get the care and support you need. Extra Care housing is specially designed accommodation for older people who are becoming frail and are less able to do everything themselves. If you are over 55 and need some care or support to live independently, Extra Care housing could be for you. Support means help with things like running your home, collecting your pension, filling in forms and taking part in social activities. Care means personal care, such as help with washing, dressing, getting in and out of bed and to the toilet if needed. Schemes offer ‘supported independence’ to older people with varying levels of care need in purpose-built, self-contained flats or bungalows, each with its own front door. People have their own tenancy and in some schemes it is possible to buy or partbuy your flat. Housing (with care) for older people is now a long way from the image that most people hold

What services are available in Extra Care?

Each Extra Care scheme offers a range of activities and services in addition to a communal lounge, laundry, guest suite and mobility scooter store.

Many also offer on-site restaurant, shop, hairdressing salon, therapy/arts and crafts room, multifaith room, fitness suite, entertainment suite and internet café.

Depending on the Extra Care scheme, you may be able to keep pets. It is important that you mention you have a pet when you apply, in order to check that the scheme operates a ‘pets are welcome’ policy.

Benefits of Extra Care housing

  • Extra Care housing residents live at home, not in a home.
  • People are supported to maintain their independence.
  • Residents have their own front door and decide who comes in.
  • Each scheme offers a selection of one and two bedroom accommodation enabling married couples and ‘significant others’ to stay together.
  • There is a mix of people with low, medium and high level care needs.
  • 24-hour care and support is on hand, as and when you need it, not just when it is available.
  • Social activities are available – for those who choose to join in.
  • Residents feel safer and more secure in purpose-built developments.
  • Residents can keep control of their own finances and decide how to live their lives.
  • Some people think of Extra Care as ‘future proofing’ - so they are in the right place if they need more help and support later on.
  • Extra Care housing schemes usually have communal facilities and a social dimension but joining in is entirely optional.

The idea is to give residents more choice and control than traditional residential care can offer, in a safe and secure environment, free from loneliness or isolation.

The cost of Extra Care

The amount you will have to pay will depend on your individual situation and income, and the scheme that you are moving into. Each scheme will charge a different amount depending on the size of the accommodation and the services provided. Costs could include rent or mortgage payments, service charges and payments for care and support. You may qualify for help with some or all of these costs. It’s important that you get advice before you move in and claim all the benefits you are entitled to.

Care homes

Care homes offer residents help with personal care such as bathing and dressing, and some also provide nursing care from qualified staff. In a care home, there is no tenancy but you will be given a contract or agreement covering the services provided. Some care homes have en suite facilities and all have communal areas such as lounges and bathrooms.

Homes may be owned or managed by different organisations, including private owners, businesses and voluntary organisations, or the local authority.  All care homes, regardless of their size, have to be registered and display a registration certificate. All care homes are registered by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Types of care home

All care homes have staff on duty 24 hours a day, and all offer accommodation, personal care and food. Care homes without nursing (sometimes known as residential homes) provide the level of personal care that a competent, caring relative might provide, such as help with dressing or bathing.  Care Homes with nursing (sometimes known as nursing homes) provide a higher level of care and must employ qualified nursing staff.

Each care home is registered to offer care for a particular group of people and this varies according to the type of facilities available in the home. This is included on their registration certificate and they cannot take people from other categories. Within care categories some people have age limits for the people they take. You should bear in mind that the home may only care for a small number of people at any one time in certain categories.

The following are the care categories used by the CQC in registering homes:

  • people with dementia
  • people with mental illness
  • people with learning disabilities
  • people who need care because of old age
  • people with physical disabilities
  • people with sensory impairment
  • people who are terminally ill
  • people with past or present alcohol dependence
  • people with past or present drug dependence.

The Health and Social Care Act 2008 and Regulations

The Health and Care Act 2008 and Regulations set out standards which homes must meet for a registration certificate to be provided, without which they cannot operate. The regulations cover adequate staffing levels, room sizes and facilities in the building, home routines, social opportunities, access to healthcare, food standards, staff training and a range of other measures.

Contacting and visiting homes and Extra Care Housing schemes

When you have decided what option you are looking for, and you have found several homes or schemes in the directory that you think might be suitable for you. You should contact the manager of the home or scheme to ask for more information and a copy of their brochure. You should check whether they have any vacancies, what their charges are and if they offer the kind of care you want. Arrange to visit the homes or schemes that you are interested in. Please see our list of suggested questions to ask/things to look for when visiting a prospective home or scheme. Visiting the home or scheme will give you a chance to meet staff and other residents and talk to them it.

You are making an important decision, so make sure that you ask questions. The staff will be happy to answer your questions. You might want to take a friend or relative with you when you visit the homes or extra care housing schemes. It is sometimes good to listen to another person’s view; they may have noticed something that you did not. If you are not physically able to visit the homes, ask someone who knows what you want to visit on your behalf.

You can find some suggested questions on the questions to ask when visiting a prospective care home page.

Residential and Nursing Home Standards

  • You will be offered the opportunity to visit a home before you move in.
  • When you first move into a home, you will be provided with an agreement about what you can expect.
  • Accommodation within the home will be in accordance with the Care Quality Commission Essential Standards and your individual needs.
  • You will have a care plan drawn up, which will be reviewed on a monthly basis by staff within the home.
  • You still have the right to be in charge of your own life and your personal choices. Your preferences and cultural and religious requirements will be honoured as far as possible.
  • You should have as much privacy and dignity as is possible within the home and your confidentiality will be respected.
  • If you are dying, care and comfort will be arranged for you and your spiritual rites and functions will be observed.
  • You will be able to receive visitors at any reasonable time.
  • You can expect to receive a varied, appealing, wholesome and nutritious diet, meeting all dietary requirements, with meals taken at flexible times and choice where you have your meals for instance in your own room or in the dining room.
  • You will be entitled to see reports of inspections carried out on the home.
  • You can expect the home to have written procedures around safeguarding and protecting you.
  • Every home will have a clear and  accessible complaints procedure.
  • You can expect the home to have a training programme for all staff, which is in line with national standards