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Private Duty vs. Skilled Nursing

Although private duty nurses and skilled nurses have largely similar training, skills, and certifications, they play different roles in caring for clients with distinct needs.

Private duty nurses typically care for adult or pediatric clients who need long-term care. They will normally stay with their clients for long hours each day, sometimes in a 24-hour live-in arrangement. Private duty nurses can provide varying degrees of medical care, depending on their clients’ needs. They almost always provide companionship and/or assistance with their clients’ day-to-day activities.

Skilled nurses, on the other hand, care for clients who need care for a finite period of time while recovering from a specific disease or illness. The length of each visit is also typically shorter because skilled nurses are not necessarily there for assistance with day-to-day activities, but rather to provide their clients with needed medical care.

Both private duty nurses and skilled nurses may be certified as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) or Registered Nurses (RN), and both can provide quality one-to-one care in the comfort of their clients’ homes.

If you need at-home private duty or skilled nursing care for you or your loved one — or if you’re interested in working as a home care professional — contact or call  Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services today at 866-639-0590.

More About Private Duty and Skilled Nursing Care

Private Duty Nursing

Private duty nurses, unlike skilled nurses, often live with their clients and can spend long hours with them each day. They may either have an ongoing arrangement with their client or work for a short period, depending on the client’s medical condition and care needs. The level of medical care provided by a private duty nurse can range from basic medication management to more advanced care.

Private duty nurses can serve as skilled nurses in the sense that some may provide specialized medical care. When they’re not administering medical care, they may provide personal or companion care to their clients. They can be there in the morning and at night to help their client get in and out of bed. They can also provide other services throughout the day, such as light housekeeping, meal preparation, and assistance with their client’s mobility.

Sometimes these services are arranged as respite care, meaning the client has a loved one helping them most days as well, and the nurse only comes at certain times to provide that person with a break from their caregiving.

Skilled Nursing

When people require at-home, specialized care from a medical professional, a skilled nurse can help. As opposed to a private duty nurse, who can handle basic daily needs, a skilled nurse is an RN or LPN who provides one-to-one medical care to help a client recover from an illness or injury.

Skilled nurses come to a client’s home for a specific time and normally will leave after administering needed services, similar to the way a person would receive care during a hospital stay. A skilled nurse’s level of medical care can vary as well, though typically skilled nurses are very well trained and experienced in handling a range of specific medical needs.

Differences in Payment and Insurance

Another difference between private duty care and skilled nursing care is how clients normally pay for the services.

Skilled Nursing Payment and Insurance

Because of the expressly medical nature of skilled nursing care, private insurance, including most Medicare plans, can help cover the care costs of most clients seeking skilled nursing care services.

Private Duty Care Payment and Insurance

In payment for private duty nursing, there are variations, often involving a long-term care insurance plan that specifies coverage for private duty care.

If the care is primarily for companionship or assistance with day-to-day activities, clients usually must pay out of pocket for private duty nursing. If there is a specific medical need for care, however, private duty nursing is typically covered in proportion to how much of the nurse’s time is medically necessary.

For example, if a client needs medication and care once per day, that portion of care may be eligible for coverage. If a client needs around-the-clock monitoring by a medical professional, then the entire care arrangement may be eligible for coverage. Insurance coverage will typically end if and when the client fully recovers and no longer requires medical care.

In any case, it’s always best to check with your insurance provider to learn what types of care are covered or find an insurance plan that meets your needs.

Types of Care: Examples of Private Duty and Skilled Nursing Services

In deciding which type of care is best for you, it can help to list the specific services needed.

Services that always apply to both private duty and skilled nursing care:

  • Creating a plan of care
  • Completing medical documentation
  • Assessing changes in the client’s medical status
  • Assessing dietary needs and plans
  • Teaching/training for family members

Services unique to private duty care:

  • Help with getting out of bed, getting dressed, and bathing in the morning
  • Help with getting ready for bed at night
  • Help with household tasks, such as cleaning, cooking, and laundry
  • Companion and homemaker care
  • Respite care (providing rest for caregiving family members)
  • Live-in services

Services that may be part of private duty nursing care or provided through a skilled nurse visit:

  • Administering medications (very common in both private duty and skilled nursing)
  • Managing chronic illness
  • Hospice care
  • Ventilator support and monitoring
  • Dressing changes
  • Medication reminders
  • Wound care

These are just some of the care services available through private duty and skilled nursing. Please contact us for more information if you have a need that is not listed above.

Home Private Duty or Skilled Care Services from Experienced, Compassionate Caregivers

At Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services, our team includes highly qualified private duty nurses and skilled nurses who are ready to help clients and their loved ones navigate chronic illnesses and other medical issues requiring one-on-one care. They can provide the at-home care you or your loved ones need to maintain your health and improve your quality of life.

Call us at 866-639-0590 or contact us to find a compassionate private duty nurse or skilled professional for your home health care needs, or find a Preferred Home Health Care & Nursing Services location near you. Our team is available 24/7 to answer questions about available private duty nursing options.

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