Care at home: Professional caregiver or at-home nurse?

Care at home: Professional caregiver or at-home nurse?
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As time goes by, you might find that your elderly loved ones might require more care when it comes to carrying out their daily activities, or when it comes to regular medical attention.

There are several eldercare options available in Singapore for your loved one, and the best fit depends on your loved one’s needs (as well as your family’s).

Here are the main differences between two common care options: Professional caregivers and at-home nurses.

What is a caregiver?

Home caregivers are professionals trained to help someone with their activities of daily living (ADLs) and provide companionship around the clock.

Some examples of ADLs include eating, dressing, bathing, transferring, walking, and using the toilet. Home caregivers will also provide a steady source of emotional support and social engagement for your loved one.

In addition, caregivers are also trained to monitor the health and medical condition of those in their charge – though they themselves may not be licensed nurses and cannot perform medical tasks such as administering medication or IV therapy.

Caregivers can be hired on an hourly basis, with the duration depending on your loved ones’ needs.

READ MORE: What to do when your loved one has a fall

What is an at-home nurse?

An at-home or private nurse is a trained and licensed healthcare professional that can perform medical tasks and nursing care procedures for those under their charge, in their home settings.

This saves you the trouble and cost of traveling and waiting at hospitals and clinics, and provides a more stress-free option for your loved one to receive medical care in a comfortable, familiar setting.

The big difference between an at-home nurse and a home caregiver is that a nurse is qualified to perform medical tasks such as administering medication, changing medical devices like feeding tubes and catheters, taking blood samples, wound care and overall health monitoring.

At-home nurses can be hired on an hourly basis, similar to caregivers. Homage is similarly able to provide 24-hour nursing care by scheduling 12-hour shifts for two different nursing professionals.

How much does a caregiver or an at-home nurse cost?

Home care costs vary depending on the type of care needed, and the duration of care.

On average, most home personal and nursing care costs approximately $20 to $40 per hour in Singapore, but care packages and subsidies are available to offset some of the cost – you can apply for financial subsidies under the Home Caregiving Grant to defray the cost of home care.

Homage provides Daily Living Care services from $20 per hour, and Home Nursing Care from $24 per hour.

Head here to learn more about what to expect in making arrangements for home care, and to get in touch with a care adviser.

Home care services best suited for your loved ones

Beyond home caregivers and at-home nurses, Homage offers a wide range of home-based care services for your elderly loved one’s physical, emotional and social needs.

These include:

  • Activities of daily living
  • Companionship and personalised care
  • Nursing care 
  • Medical house-call doctors
  • Therapy – Physiotherapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy

Here’s an insight into the other types of home-based services that Homage provides:

Home therapy

Cost: From $180/hour.

Rehabilitation therapy is important in helping patients regain independence in daily living and social activities – particularly elderly people who have just recovered from a fall, stroke or operation.

Rehab therapy often requires several consistent sessions for results. As such, home therapy is a great option if you’re tied up with many work and family commitments, and would like to save your loved one the hassle of travelling and waiting at the rehab facilities.

Home therapy services encompass:

  • Physiotherapy – Provided by physiotherapists to help restore a patient’s motor function and mobility after injury, illness or surgery.
  • Speech therapy – Provided by speech therapists that diagnose and prescribe exercises that help a patient regain their speech, voice and swallowing functions, in order to help them regain the ability to communicate effectively and confidently.
  • Occupational therapy – Provided by occupational therapists that help patients regain their ability to perform basic activities of daily living.

House-call doctors

Cost: From $180/hour for Basic Consultations, and from $60/procedure for surgical procedures.

For those with loved ones who are homebound or who get stressed by frequent travels to and fro home and the hospitals, a house-call doctor brings healthcare straight to your home, without the hassle.

House-call doctors can perform various medical services from simple consultations and health screenings to surgical procedures, and can even provide specialist referrals and medical certifications.

Head here to find the most suitable specialist for your loved one’s needs.


Cost: From $20/prescription or consultation

If you’re looking to get medication for your elderly loved one’s chronic condition or one-time illness without the hassle of traveling to the clinic, you can arrange for a teleconsultation and medicine delivery with Homage.

Book your teleconsultation with one of our doctors vis the Homage app, and you can get the prescribed medication delivered to your home.

Conclusion: Should I choose a caregiver or a nurse for my loved one?

Deciding on whether to hire a home caregiver or a home nurse for your loved one ultimately depends on their needs.

If your loved one mainly requires help with their activities of daily living and don’t have nursing needs, then a caregiver would be able to best meet their needs.

However, if your loved one has complex healthcare-related tasks and requires specialist medical care on a daily basis, then a home nurse would be required.

If you’re wondering if other care options might be more suitable for your loved ones needs, head here to read up about the pros and cons of other care options such as nursing homes and hiring domestic helpers.

READ ALSO: 'We felt we had to overhaul our lives': Munah Bagharib and her brother on what it's like having a mum with dementia

This article was first published in Homage.

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