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The Difference Between Live-in Care and 24 hour Care


An increasing number of people have started to opt for paid home carers to enhance the quality of their own or their loved one’s life. This step has multiple benefits for all the parties involved in this process. There is a wide variety of care options available to suit the individual needs and hence the carers are also trained accordingly. 

An elderly person can continue living life independently within the comfort of their own home with the assistance of a home carer. A family member who is juggling their job and caring for their loved one can also benefit from a home carer. These family members in need are usually the parents of disabled children or children of elderly/mentally ill parents. 

Very often, people are not aware of the difference between live-in-care and 24-hour care. Often live-in care is advertised as 24-hour care, adding further confusion. The result is, the clients feel misled when they realise that no one person can provide 24/7 live-in care without a break, or there is nothing like a constant 24/7 live-in carer.

The difference is worth discussing to make it clear.

What is live-in care?

Live-in care meaning is defined as care that is provided to the client by a private carer. It is important to understand the live-in care definition, what does live-in care mean and what is live in home care exactly for both the carers and the clients. 

In this kind of care, the caregiver resides with the client in their home but is not on duty for the full 24 hours in a day. Although live in 24 hour care is possible, it is not provided by just one person. What does live-in care provider mean and what is a live in carer are some questions that commonly arise when thinking about a career as a carer. The term live-in care provider is not synonymous with 24 hour carer. In fact, the daily shift can vary from 6-8 hours depending on the agency that has hired them. During their shift time, they take care of the client completely. They provide medical and physical assistance according to the client’s condition. They also assist the client in daily tasks like cooking, feeding, cleaning, bathing, etc. They are also in charge of keeping the client’s house fully stocked with their daily necessities. However, their job is not limited to the professional aspect only, they are also available for emotional, social and psychological support. 

Who is live-in care for?

Live-in care is usually targeted to the elderly who live alone on their own property. Such individuals usually have a difficult time handling daily tasks on their own due to their deteriorating physical or mental health. However, it is important to note that they might not necessarily be suffering from illness, but old age makes their condition debilitating. Such people may benefit greatly from live in carers, who can assist them during a limited period. 24 hour care at home for the elderly is also an option and usually involves multiple carers. 24 hour elderly care is a great option in terms of companionship for elderly individuals who live on their own. The live-in care assistant’s job description also includes supporting the client emotionally and socially. The caretakers present themselves as a friend and are available for amiable conversation throughout their time of duty.

A subtype of live-in care includes short-term live-in care. This kind of carer is available to take over for the permanent live-in caregiver when they want to take a break, or a vacation or even during times of illness.

How much does live in care cost?

The clients usually worry about the cost of live-in care, but they should be aware that the fee for this kind of care is much lower compared to many other care options. Besides, the total cost plan can be adjusted according to the client's needs and the caregiver’s qualifications. Another factor that has an influence on the cost is the client’s living address. The rough estimate is £120-£150 per day in the UK. 

What is 24 hour home care?

24 hour home care, as the name implies, is defined as round the clock care, whenever needed, 24 hours a day provided by qualified care providers or 24 hour live in carers, within the comfort of the client’s home. They provide services to assist the client throughout the day and even during the night. 

The kind of 24-hour care at home provided can vary from medical to just general chores around the house. These caregivers are basically there to ensure a better quality of life for the client. They can be specialized to perform certain medical tasks according to the patient’s illness. They also drive clients to appointments, etc. It is common for 24 hours live in care to be provided by a team of caregivers rather than just one person. In some cases, this is possible with two live-in carers provided the care needs are not too high. They can work in shifts, or all be present at the same time depending on the needs of the client.

Sometimes, the client may need 24 hour nursing care and training to the carer is provided for that.

Who is 24-hour home care for?

24-hour home care is for clients that will need assistance during the nighttime. Examples of this can be when the client feels restless or suffers from insomnia, if the client is disabled and frequently urinates at night, a client that is in critical condition and is in need of constant vitals monitoring, etc. Additionally, a client who has returned from a hospital stay and is in need of 24/7 nursing care to clean surgical wounds or administer medicine will also need this type of care.

This also includes clients who cannot be left alone for long periods, for instance, patients who suffer from dementia. It is unsafe for such people to be left unattended as they could come into harm’s way. Either way, a client who is to be supervised and tended to with 24/7 care should benefit most from this kind of care. 

How much does 24 hour home care cost?

The client and their loved ones must understand that 24 hour live-in care cost in the UK is in fact a cheaper alternative to residential care. 24 hour live in nursing care also comes with the added benefit of not having to force the client out of their home which can cause emotional and mental stress. Additionally, the caregiver can be highly qualified to provide adequate care for the client in case they suffer from any kind of illness. Another factor that affects the cost is the client's UK postal code. 24 hour live in care agencies can help clients find a suitable carer. Keeping all of this in mind, a rough estimation of the cost comes down to £120-150/day with additional charges if there are frequent disturbances during the nighttime. 

24-hour home care VS Live-in home care

From the above text, one can conclude that there is a reasonable difference between the two types of carers. The main one being that 24-hour home carers provide assistance during nighttime as well which is a part of their working around the clock duties. Due to this, the daily cost of a 24-hour home is also more than that of live-in care. 

Additionally, there are more workers involved in 24-hour home care as per their shift schedule and the work burden. Since there are more people involved, this contributes to the general alertness of the team throughout the day. 

Whilst for live-in home care, only two workers are needed. Although they are present for limited hours, this allows the client to build a better relationship with the carers because of the added consistency. But live-in carers also require a break that can last up to 4 hours daily. And they are also unavailable for 8 hours during the night. If a client needs assistance during these hours, they must turn to a family member for help. Another option is paying the hourly rate of the carer. 

Just because the carer is living with the client, this does not mean they should be working around the clock. The carer needs a period of time each day when they are able to rest, be free to go out if they would like to and switch off from the role of being a carer. They also need to be able to get a good night’s sleep. Whilst the carer may be “on duty” outside of their free time and available to help if needed, they are not expected to be kept busy. Whilst the occasional night call is part of being a live-in carer, if this becomes too frequent then the carer may need help. 

Considerations for a person looking to work as a carer

It is important for someone who is thinking about applying for the position of a home carer to consider the following:

* A carer should research the benefits they may receive from the NHS when they qualify as a carer. One of these benefits is a weekly allowance if you take care of someone for more than 35 hours a week. Another benefit is the carer’s credit, there is more information about such benefits here.

* A carer should look into the ‘Carer’s Respite’ provided by the NHS. This is a brief period that a carer might want to take off from their duty. There are variations to these packages, they can last a couple of hours or a couple of days depending on the result of the carer’s need assessment and personal choice.

* Before embarking on their caregiving journey, the carer should be aware of the legal rights of live-in carers and the consequences if the client refuses to abide by them.

* If an individual wants to pursue a career in providing care professionally, they should look into the salary structure. This can vary according to this individual's prior qualifications and their relationship with caretaking and healthcare. Additionally, any prior documented or undocumented assistance can also influence salary. Furthermore, from the client's side, the list of duties expected to be performed, the shift schedule, the medical assistance and the client's postal code influence the carer’s salary.

* The prospective carer should also look into the documents they will need to provide during the job application process and also the tenure of their stay with specific clients.

* The carer should vet the company they are applying to before they start the application process. They should consider aspects like application processing time, additional benefits, briefings, to name a few.

* Given the current situation, the carer should investigate the precautions a company and client are taking towards the COVID-19 pandemic. They should ensure adequate measures of prevention of spread are being taken through frequent testing and following of SOPs. An additional service to ask about is that if the company provides leave and medical assistance if one gets infected.

* A person who is already in a position of caring for a loved one, and not hired by a 24-hour live-in care agency, for example, a parent of a disabled child can look into the special plans provided by the NHS to aid them in their daily task. Finding yourself in the role of 24-hour live-in carer is not easy. These special plans can include things like helping with housework, providing transport for appointments, providing aids to relieve stress.

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