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Blog Home > Articles > What is Home Care? Guide to Caregiving for Adults at Home.

Home care is any care provided with the intent to let an adult live safely within their home. This type of care is used in situations where an individual is managing a chronic illness, has become temporarily or permanently debilitated/incapacitated in some way, has special needs, or is aging and unable to maintain their quality of life independently.  

Home care can be provided by a professional or team of professionals (like doctors, nurses, aides, psychologists, etc.), an unpaid loved one or close friend, or a combination of both professional and personal caregivers depending on the unique situation. If you’re providing care to an aging or ailing loved one at their home, you are likely a home caregiver.

What are the types of home care?

There are three different types of home care to mention:

  1. Personal/Companionship Care. Personal or companionship caregiving is probably what’s already most familiar to you. It’s a term that means helping another person with everyday activities: bathing, dressing, feeding, cooking, grocery shopping, and other household tasks. Personal care seeks to maintain comfort, safety, and independence in the home.
  2. Long-Term Care. This type of care is provided by a licensed professional caring for a chronically ill, disabled, injured, or elderly patient in their own home. It is characterized as hourly nursing care over a long period of time. This is also the term used for care after catastrophic injuries requiring a long period of specialized recovery (like an injury requiring a tracheostomy, ventilator, etc.).
  3. Intermittent Skilled Care. The final type of home care is a short-term arrangement prescribed by a physician for short-term care and recovery. This includes home physical therapy, illness recovery, or follow up after a hospital stay.

Technology has advanced in the last half-century to allow procedures and care to take place in the home that was previously only available in formal facilities (like hospitals). There are many reasons to consider this option for your loved one, so let’s get into a few of those now.

What are the benefits of home care?

Caring for a loved one from their own home is often the most comfortable choice, especially for an elderly friend/family member. Many of them would, when possible, choose to live at home as long as possible. Here are some of the additional benefits of home care:

  • A sense of familiarity. Someone who is adjusting to a new or ever-changing normal will welcome any opportunity for something that feels familiar and comfortable.
  • More opportunities for independence. Staying home often offers greater opportunities for independence than a more formal facility. Home care allows the individual and their caregivers to retain control over their schedule, meals, and other daily tasks they could otherwise handle themselves.
  • Highest possible quality of life. For many, staying home provides a higher quality of life than a hospital or formal facility – there is better noise control, independent and familiar spaces, and it is easier for friends and family to visit in the home than the hospital.
  • Caregiver relief.  It’s worth mentioning that as a caregiver, you’re under constant stress and pressure. Inviting professional home care assistance for the daily tasks or opting for in-home care for procedures eligible for such treatment may help bring comfort and relief to you. Your health and well-being are just as important and avoiding burnout is key to your ability to give care long-term.
  • Prevent unnecessary hospital trips. There’s evidence that suggests consistent care at home can help avoid unnecessary hospital trips, ultimately saving time, worry, and money. When something comes up, a full-time facility wouldn’t always have the time to deliberate whether a trip is necessary and would opt in favor of the hospital for the sake of efficiency.
  • Better outcomes and lower costs. As briefly mentioned, reduced trips to the hospital saves on overall care costs. According to research published by UCLA in the peer-reviewed medical journal, Medical Care, adults who received home care enjoyed better outcomes and a lower overall cost than similar adults in a formal facility.

Concluding Thoughts

Whether you’re already providing informal home care to a loved one in your life, or you’re working through a doctor prescribed professional home care situation, one thing is certain: it isn’t easy.

Providing care for a loved one with a debilitating physical or cognitive disorder changes your life forever. It can have a devastating impact on a family long-term, but you don’t have to go through this alone. We’re here to provide support.   Eleven nonprofit Caregiver Resource Centers (CRCs) throughout the state of California each year serve hundreds of families and caregivers of adults affected by chronic health conditions. 

Click here to find out more about the closest Center to your area.

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