Home-Based Care vs. Nursing Homes – Which Is Right for My Loved One?

The idea of “home” carries a deep emotional meaning for all of us, from an infant learning their first words to a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. A home is a place and also a feeling, one of warmth, familiarity, comfort, and love. 

As people age, the notion of home may become complicated. A long-term or sudden illness can make it challenging for an older person to continue living in the house they never thought they would leave. Overwhelmed with the challenges of caregiving, a family may wonder if their loved one would be better off in a nursing home with access to around-the-clock care. While there is no “right” answer when it comes to choosing long-term care, this article will help you find the right answer for you and your loved ones. 

Home-Based Care Alternatives

Health care provider administering care to elderly man

Nursing homes are residential facilities where people living with serious illness receive medical care as well as support with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and eating. These facilities can be a safe alternative to living at home for people suffering from progressive conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Besides medical care and daily support, nursing homes offer communal meals and other activities to give residents the opportunity to socialize and stay active.

When a person moves into a nursing home, their family may breathe a sigh of relief because they know their loved one will be under the watchful eye of trained staff, particularly in the case of an emergency. In many situations, people with serious illness live far from their family members and simply cannot receive the care and support they need at home. Nevertheless, the decision to place a loved one in a nursing home can also bring up negative feelings for family members. Caregivers may feel as if they failed in their duty, despite their best efforts. They may also feel guilty if they sense their loved one would have preferred to live at home. The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly challenging for nursing home residents and their families, as virus outbreaks have devastated nursing homes across the country and administrators have been forced to restrict visitation.

Advantages of Home-Based Care

Health care provider speaking with elderly lady

Broadly speaking, home-based care involves providing medical care and other types of support in the comfort of home. Care teams collaborate to ease patients’ symptoms and identify issues that could become serious without medical treatment. This helps prevent unnecessary ER visits and hospitalizations. Further, providers can mediate difficult conversations with family members about a patient’s care, rather than leaving caregivers to navigate these situations alone.

Prospero’s unique physicianled homebased care model not only addresses people’s health needs, but also empowers them so they feel in control of the next chapters of their lives. Driven by empathy and integrity, Prospero’s physicians, nursing professionals, social workers, and other team members spend time getting to know patients and their families to understand how to best serve them. Together, the team relieves the burden of managing one’s healthcare, which gives patients and caregivers more time to focus on their relationships and passions.

Deciding between a nursing home and home-based care isn’t easy. For some families, a nursing home may be the best option given their loved one’s health concerns, proximity to their caregivers, and other important factors. For those who prize the independence and familiarity that come with living at home, home-based care may be a better fit. Even if a patient chooses home-based initially, the course of their illness may force them to consider a skilled nursing facility. Ultimately, every family’s situation is unique, and only they know how they want to write their story.

For more information on Prospero’s services and to find out if you are eligible, please call our Care Support Center at 1-888-608-0499, TTY 711 (toll free). We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.