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Live-in care vs. care homes – getting the support you need at home

Dorothy with her daughter and live-in carer

Have you heard the phrase, ‘there’s no place like home’? Figures show that many of us want our homes to be the place where we can be cared for and have the right level of support.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In fact, a 2011 report by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC) found that whilst between 56 and 75% of people wish to spend their last days at home, this is only the case for 19% of the public.

Choosing whether to move into a nursing home or opting for live in care is a major decision and it’s important to understand your options.

Live-in care or care home? Understanding the differences

There are two different types of care homes: residential and nursing. And it’s vital to understand these differences.

A residential home will provide constant support from a team of care assistants, who will assist in a number of aspects of care similar to a home care provider.

A nursing home, in addition, also has a trained nurse on-site to assist with more complex care needs, such as hoisted transfers and managing clinical care. Like a residential home, nursing homes also provide assistance with personal care and other aspects of one-to-one support.

What is often not realised is that all of these types of care can be carried out at home. A range of services fall under the umbrella of live-in care; from domiciliary care (or regular home visits) through to full time care and clinical care at home.

It can cover anything from personal care to companionship, cooking and housekeeping, right through to administering medication, using hoists and more complex support with a stoma, catheter or ventilator.

The pros and cons of a care home

Care homes can provide a safe place for people to receive the care they need. There are almost always activities in place with a real community feel at times. And although staff members do change between shifts, someone is on-call around the clock.

But moving home is a huge disruption at the best of times – a move into a care home, especially for an elderly person who is accustomed to their home environment – can be a major upheaval. Having to move with essential belongings only, sell furniture or other knick-knacks and even let go of pets can be far too upsetting for some.

There’s also the other residents too. You may find being around other people all the time uncomfortable or miss the comfort of having a pet or the friends who know you best close by. And though routines can be comfortable, they can lead to feeling a loss of independence, especially if you prefer to stick to the same daily patterns and routines.

How live-in care can help

Home care can take the form of occasional visits during the day right through to 24-hour live-in care. As care takes place within a person’s own home, they can keep all of their home comforts and follow a routine that they feel comfortable with.

It may feel like a major step at first to allow someone new into your home. If you are concerned, our live-in care service can be trialled for a short period to see whether it suits you. We also enjoy getting to know you so we can find a carer that you feel most comfortable with, someone with similar interests and a personality that suits.

Deciding which service is right for you

Making the right choice between live-in care and a care home really depends on what’s important to you and your family. You may find that your loved one has difficulty settling into a care home, in which case home care will be your best option.

To learn more about the support we can provide for you and your loved one, speak to one of our home care specialists on 0808 274 7734.

Sources: ‘What People Want to Live and Die Well’ by the National Council for Palliative Care (NCPC): http://www.ncpc.org.uk/sites/default/files/NCPC_Future_Forum_Evidence_May_2011.pdf

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