What is Live-in Home Care?
Live-in care means having someone live with you at your residence to provide care. Live-in care can be provided at any place that you call home but it makes more sense to use it in private residence setting. Generally the care is provided by a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) or a Home Health Aide (HHA) or similarly experienced individual who is experienced in providing personal care, companionship and home care. Type of services include personal hygiene (shower, bath, changing, incontinence care, transfers etc), companionship, light housekeeping like laundry, cleaning, vacuuming, meal preparation and feeding, transportation, medication reminders and similar services to help maintain quality of life for the client.
How does it work?
You have the option of hiring a caregiver directly through many employee and caregiver portals or through referrals from friends and family. You can find some really good caregivers that way as long as you know what you are looking for and use interviews and services to ensure proper screening. If you hire a caregiver directly, make sure to follow all the rules governing caregiver to avoid any problem down the road. If you go with an agency, the agency will manage matching and scheduling of the caregivers. Good agencies will always share the schedule with you ahead of time and will generally have a rotation schedule with 2-3 caregivers. They will most likely maintain a schedule that avoids caregiver burnout and overtime. Every state has a little bit of variation on laws governing caregiver workload but below are some important considerations that are mostly common everywhere:
1. In a 24 hour shift, a caregiver works 12 hours, requires 4 hours of personal downtime and should have 8 hours of contiguous sleep
2. Caregiver should have their own private space where they can sleep and go during their downtime if they so wish
3. During downtime, caregiver is allowed to go out if they so wish
Like with everything, this model works in some situations and not recommended for other situations. Live-in care works well if the client requires regular supervision and assistance with activities of daily living but sleeps well through night most of the time and can be without a caregiver for a few hours a day (or a family member or neighbor can cover during those hours). If the patient requires regular round the clock monitoring, then live-in is not recommended. In those situations, you should consider regular 24×7 care or moving to a nursing home. Live-in care is generally more cost effective than regular 24×7 care since you can work out a daily rate vs an hourly rate which allows you to extend the care over a longer period of time. Rates may vary depending upon where you live and how competitive caregiver landscape is in your area, make sure to do your homework and talk to atleast 3 caregivers/agencies to get a sense of on-going rate for budgeting purposes, however never make the decision to go with a certain caregiver/agency just purely on who is the cheapest. Due to the nature of Live-in care, not every agency offers or is good at providing live-in care. Before deciding to go with an agency, make sure its something they support and have had experience in doing. Ultimately, base your decision on quality, experience and cost of the care keeping the needs of the patient in mind.