When someone needs home care, they’ll often be given one-of-two options:
- Live-in care
- 24-hour home care
Physicians are the best source of recommendation when it comes to choosing the right option. While a lot of patients use these two types of home care interchangeably, but they have distinct differences.
Live-in Care 101
The term “live-in care” is used when a person has the same care provider for a period of 24 hours. This individual is essentially “on-the-clock,” and they’ll live in the home day and night. Caregivers may be given a break during the day, and every requirement is different.
Many live-in care providers will be given a 4-hour break. Patients can choose to have coverage during this time, too.
An 8-hour sleeping period is required, and a bed must be provided to the caregiver. There is also a maximum number of days each caregiver may work. Normally, a caregiver can only be booked for 4-to-5 days as a live-in caregiver.
A different caregiver can be booked in between this time.
Advantages of a Live-in Caregiver
The role of a live-in caregiver is very demanding, and from the patient’s perspective, the relationship is a much more intimate one. A caregiver will be in the home much more often, they can accommodate the person’s needs and can also provide comfort in the event of a medical emergency. Many patients who are less mobile use a call button, or install a medical alert system to alert their caregiver of any issues or requests.
Most situations will have only two caregivers present for the entire week.
Consistency is the main advantage of this type of arrangement. Patients are more comfortable having the same caregiver around, and there is also less room for error thanks to the reduction in overall caregivers present.
Disadvantages of a Live-in Caregiver
Even a live-in caregiver deserves a break. Breaks allow the caregiver to still maintain their own routine, and the addition of a break has been shown to reduce medical errors, too. This is an advantage to the caregiver, but it does pose a problem to the patient: a 4-hour break.
The break means that a caregiver will not be present for four hours in the day.
If a patient can suffice on their own during this time, the break won’t be a big deal. But patients that do need to have someone there at all times will need to have:
- Another caregiver to come in
- Family member to come in
Direct supervision is also lost at night. Caregivers need sleep, too, and mandatory sleep means that the patient doesn’t have direct supervision for an 8-hour period.
24-Hour Home Care 101
The difference between live-in care and 24-hour home care is that 24-hour home care is more robust. You will have care all day and night, but there are advantages and disadvantages to this type of care, too.
Advantages of 24-Hour Home Care
When you have 24-hour home care, you’ll have someone there at all times to cater to your health needs. This means that someone is with you, the patient, day and night. There is no lapse in time, so you never have to worry about breaks or even the person sleeping.
Supervision is maximized with home care, so the patient never needs to worry about their own well-being when they sleep.
Caregivers are also more refreshed, alert and able to meet the needs of the patient more effectively. It’s a great option for anyone that has serious health or medical needs that can arise at any time.
Disadvantages of 24-Hour Home Care
The disadvantages of 24-hour home care is that the patient doesn’t get to have as intimate of a relationship with their caregiver. There can be as many as three caregivers assigned to a patient, or there may be two caregivers allowed to work in 4, 12-hour shifts per week.
Billing will be higher, too and while more expensive, the 24-hour care does provide actual 24-hour care to the patient.
Familiarity is the biggest concern when choosing the 24-hour option. A patient that needs to be familiar with their caregiver will do much better when choosing a live-in caregiver.
The choice between a live-in and 24-hour caregiver is a difficult one. When a person has severe health issues and needs supervision at all times of the day, it makes more sense to hire a 24-hour caregiver.
Live-in care is a great option in terms of affordability, but the caregiver will also be required to have breaks. The time that these breaks occur, the patient will need to have someone else come to the home, or the patient will need to be in a medical state where they can care for themselves at this time.
Insurance providers may also play a role in which option you can choose.
The best course of action is to ask your physician or a medical expert which type of home care is best for the patient. In many cases, this recommendation well be given well before the patient is sent home.
Tim is a professional caregiver who has helped hundreds of seniors gain back their freedom and independence. He has been actively helping the senior community for 20+ years.