Home-based care: pros and cons

Being able to care for a loved one at home is both rewarding and challenging. It is important to weigh up the pros and cons.

Challenges of home-based care

  • 24/7
    The patient is with you all the time.

  • Role changes
    May affect the dynamics of a relationship as the wife/husband/child now also becomes the primary caregiver.

  • Impact on whole family
    Everyone is affected when there is a sick person living in the house: all the focus may be on the sick person, and other relationships may come to a standstill. There is a need to balance the household needs.v
  • Burden of care
    The caregiver also needs time to recharge and be cared for. Both the patient and the caregiver have to deal with issues of guilt. The caregiver often feels like he/she is not doing enough while the patient feels like he/she is a burden. Often society’s expectations also cloud the issue.
  • Financial burden
    If primary caregiver is a major contributor to the household income, this may place additional strain and limit the earning potential of the caregiver.

Benefits of home-based care

  • Comfortable environment
    The patient is based in a familiar environment with easy access to family members and friends.

  • Community support
    The patient can be in close contact with community members for advice and support.

  • Cultural nuances
    The person is in an environment that is culturally sensitive to his/her needs.

  • Visitors
    The patient can receive visitors whenever convenient (however this may also be a challenge for the patient).

  • Lower costs
    The financial costs associated with nursing a patient at home are much lower. The patient can also tap into local community support structures/hospice care/clinics.

(Thania Gopal, Health24, April 2009)

Sources:
Ester Pepper, Nursing Services Manager, St Luke's Hospice
Priscilla Nelson, CEO St Luke's Hospice

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