Home care nurse helps a senior man in a wheelchair at home.

Home Care Nurse or In-Home Personal Caregiver?

Last updated on April 10, 2023

More seniors are choosing to age in place at home instead of dwelling in an assisted living or nursing facility. However, some may need additional assistance with their medical or personal care and managing everyday household tasks. Seniors and their family members then need to decide whether a “home care nurse” or an “in-home personal caregiver” is required.

What Does a Home Care Nurse Do?

A home care nurse is either a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) who offers nursing-level medical care to individuals in their home. Home care nurses provide treatments that may include:

  • Wound care
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Tracheotomy care
  • Diabetes management
  • Ostomy care
  • Injections
  • Infusions
  • Medication administration
  • Post-surgical care

Other medical providers—such as registered dietitians and physical, speech, and occupational therapists—may also offer specialized healthcare and rehabilitation services in the home.

What Does an In-Home Personal Caregiver Do?

An in-home caregiver provides non-medical assistance for adults needing personal care, including daily tasks. Professional in-home caregivers help older adults maintain their independence, continue living at home, and age safely and comfortably.

Caregiver tasks may include:

  • Assistance with grooming, bathing, toileting, and dressing
  • Meal preparation
  • Light housekeeping
  • Errands and shopping
  • Medication reminders
  • Assistance with mobility and transfers
  • Transportation
  • Companionship

Which Type of Care is Necessary?

The first step is determining whether your loved one’s needs are medical or non-medical.

If your loved one needs in-home medical support, discuss their situation with a doctor. In-home care provided by nurses is typically recommended by a physician and paid via insurance. Care is limited to the individual’s physician-documented medical needs.

In-home nurses often provide care for a short-term (during the time of a patient’s illness or injury). Some patients with chronic or progressive conditions may need in-home medical assistance indefinitely. The duration of visits is also limited to the time it takes to provide the recommended care. Examples include a one-hour visit for a monthly infusion or a 15-minute visit to change a dressing and administer medication.

If your loved one needs non-medical personal assistance, a professional home care provider, such as Visiting Angels, might be the right choice. Clients and/or their families can select the hours and tasks required — even if those requests are for companion care or respite care only.

Visiting Angels offers numerous types of care arrangements, including:

Arrange a Home Care Consultation

Schedule a free home care consultation with Visiting Angels to learn more about available services and how an in-home personal caregiver might be able to assist your loved one.

If you're interested in our compassionate home care services for you or a loved one, contact your nearest Visiting Angels home care agency today or call 800-365-4189.
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