Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference?

Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference?

When given the option between convalescing at home and in a nursing home, most people prefer to remain at home and age in place. Besides the familiarity, home is the place where people have lived their lives and created memories with friends and family. Even the smallest house is often viewed by the senior as a comfortable setting that is well-suited for their personal belongings, pets and visitors. Many seniors create a support network of friends and family close to home, and aging in place makes it easier for beneficial bonds to remain strong. The positive emotional bond people have often helps speed their recovery, as long as they receive the therapeutic and support services they require. Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference?

Both nursing homes and home care agencies provide the resources and services to increase comfort and assist recovery. They both have the common goal of helping your loved one with activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and promoting healthy longevity.

Nursing Home Care

Nursing homes provide around-the-clock medical and non-medical care to a population that is primarily elderly or disabled. Facilities are staffed with aides, nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs), along with others who provide emotional support, enrichment activities, physical and occupational therapy and pharmacy services. All nursing homes have immediate access to physicians though few have a physician in-house, around the clock. They have full-time kitchens and housekeeping staff, and some provide transportation with vans or buses. Institutional nursing homes normally have all their services under one roof or a short distance away. In-house social activities are planned for residents in all licensed nursing facilities. Many also have libraries, recreation areas and entertainment scheduled for holidays or special occasions.

Home Care

Licensed skilled nursing agencies care for home-bound individuals. They provide services ranging from companionship and cleaning to skilled nursing care. Visits to the home can be scheduled on an hourly basis, daily or overnight, as the need and budget allow. Most homecare agencies also work to maintain consistent care and encourage bonding by scheduling the same nurses or caregivers with the same seniors whenever possible. Some seniors utilize these services immediately after discharge from the hospital, and many continue to access services on a longer term basis once rehabilitation is complete. Families also benefit from homecare as it provides them with professional assistance called respite care so they can spend time away from their loved ones with confidence knowing the senior is in expert hands.

Final Considerations

Choosing between a nursing home and home care services can be a matter of physical needs or personal preference. The goal of each is to better the patient’s comfort level, and when possible, achieve independent living. Which you choose for yourself or a loved one needs to be thought through carefully based on physical and emotional needs as well as both short term and long term goals.

By Christine Day – While Christine’s main passion is nursing, on her off days she enjoys writing for Salus Homecare. Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference?

Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference?

Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference? Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference? Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference? Home Care vs. Nursing Homes: What’s the Difference?

about the author


As a co-owner of Senior.com, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well.  Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor.  Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, for 13 months before passing.  Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 102 year old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor.  She is happily married to her husband of 22 years and they have 3 children.

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