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Levels of care, and assessing your care needs

When choosing a care home it is important to know what level of care the care home provides and whether this is the right level to meet your needs.

It is important to note that not all homes offer care at all levels. This is important because if your care needs are likely to increase and the care home you choose is not able to meet your longer term needs, you will face the upheaval of having to move to another care home that can meet your needs.

Level 1 care homes without nursing have a minimum of 2 sleeping-in care staff. They support people who:

  • Are physically frail

  •  Require occasional care at night

  • Are occasionally incontinent

  • Need assistance with personal care

  •  Require supervision during the waking day

  • Are mentally confused or diagnosed as having mental illness.

Level 2 care homes without nursing have at least one waking care staff and one sleeping-in care staff. They support people who:

  • Are physically frail

  • Require care at night

  • Need assistance with personal care

  • Are doubly incontinent

  • Require regular supervision during the waking day

  • Are mentally confused or diagnosed as having mental illness.

Level 3 care homes without nursing have at least two waking care staff in homes with 15 or more residents (one waking care staff in homes with less than 15 residents) and one sleeping-in care staff.  They support people who:

  • Are physically highly dependent

  • Require regular care at night

  • Require a high level of supervision and assistance with personal care

  • Are doubly incontinent

  • Are severely confused or mentally ill and require supervision throughout the day

Level 4 care homes provide the same level of care as Level 3 but also provide nursing care on site.  A registered nurse will be on duty 24 hours a day to provide any nursing care that is needed.


Assessing your care needs

If you think that a care home is the right option for you, it is best to talk to your local council before making any arrangements as you may be able to get help with funding your care.  For contact details please see ‘Further Information’ section. 
Local councils will assess whether or not your needs can be met in your own home.  If the council agree that your needs cannot be met in your own home, they will advise you what type and level of care home you need.  They will also tell you what contribution you need to make towards the cost of any care you receive. 

If you are funding your own care, you and/or your family can arrange for you to move to a care home without any involvement from your council.  However you are entitled to an assessment of your needs and the outcome may help you choose the appropriate type and level of care you need.  

For more information about care needs assessments please see Help & Care Factsheet ‘Planning Your Care and Support.’  For details of how to obtain this Factsheet please see ‘Further Information’ section.

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