Short Term Care vs Long Term Care: What’s The Difference?

There is a difference between short term care vs long term care.


short term care

Short Term Care: What Is It?

Short-term home care services can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of months. Usually while someone is recovering from an illness, injury or surgery. In these instances, home care is a beneficial temporary solution. For example, there are special short-term services to help seniors make smooth transitions from the hospital back to their homes.

Depending on the senior’s needs, one or more professional caregivers may be assigned. A “custodial caregiver” can provide unskilled assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).  This would include household tasks like bathing, dressing, laundry and preparing meals. They ensure that your loved one is getting their medications and recuperating. The caregiver does all of the household tasks.

Skilled care can also be provided in the home for dressing wounds, dispensing medications, and monitoring vital signs.  For example, following a stroke, a visiting physical therapist might be needed on a short-term basis to help a senior regain their balance and coordination. Once your loved one has recovered, these services will no longer be needed.


Long Term Care: What Is it?

Long-term services are generally for seniors with chronic and/or progressive conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating stroke, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Most family members have no experience or training in caring for a chronically ill person at home. Bathing Mom or Dad is one thing, but changing a colostomy bag, suctioning secretions from a tracheotomy tube or monitoring a ventilator is beyond their ability. In these cases, skilled home care is hired on a long-term basis until the senior’s needs exceed what can be provided in the home. Around-the-clock supervision and higher levels of care and training may become necessary, therefore home health care may no longer be the best option. Services usually conclude when the elder moves to an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing home.