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If you have an aging loved one, finding the very best care for them is your top priority. You may find it’s also a quite a challenge. All the different types of care options and terminology is enough to make your head swim. Take your time and try not to get overwhelmed. At some point you may be considering whether you need a nurse or a caregiver. Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably, but there are some key differences you need to know. Use this guide to understand which type of care is best for your senior loved one.

Nurse vs. Caregiver: An Overview

To an untrained eye, the work of a nurse and a caregiver may seem similar. And in some ways, they are. Both give professional care to patients. Both may provide services in assisted living facilities and at home. It’s the differences, however, that will help you determine which is needed for your senior loved one. The following comparison will highlight those differences to guide your selection.

The Nurse

Nurses provide skilled medical care. They are licensed and trained in specific medical procedures and techniques. A nurse’s skills include administering medication, tube feeding, IV therapy, monitoring and measuring vitals, controlling infections, and managing open wounds. They also provide end of life care to patients. Nurses work closely with doctors and normally carry out their specific instructions. They assess and monitor patient progress and recovery. The care they provide is typically administered in only a few hours a week.

The Caregiver

Caregivers provide professional non-medical assistance. They aren’t required to have any formal education or training other than basic emergency preparedness and CPR. They help patients with the regular activities of daily living: eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, transferring (moving/walking around), and continence. Caregivers provide companionship, developing close bonds with their clients. They help them with daily needs seniors may not be able to do independently, such as buying groceries, cooking, and doing laundry. A caregiver fills in the cracks for a senior who otherwise couldn’t continue living on their own.  

Providing the Best Care

Nurses and caregivers both provide essential professional care to the patients they serve. Each role is vital to the well-being and quality of life of seniors. Some seniors may only need the medical care of a nurse, while others need only the assistance of a caregiver. Many will need both at one time or another. Use the preceding nurse vs. caregiver guide to determine which type of care is best for your aging loved one. Unlimited Care Cottages provides assisted living services in the Kingwood, Spring, Oak Ridge North, and The Woodlands areas. The Woodlands also houses our memory care cottage. All of our cottages are staffed with both nurses and caregivers to ensure our guests receive the best care according to their needs. For more information on finding the optimal care for your senior loved ones, or for a tour of one of our cottages, Contact Us.