Caregiver or At-home Nurse: Which Do you Need?

Care At Home: Professional Caregiver or Registered Nurse?

The choice between receiving at-home care from a caregiver or from a nurse depends on your individual needs and medical requirements. People often call us to request a nurse to come to their home and assist their loved one in managing their condition. But this isn’t always the best solution as a nurse has a specialised skill set that is only required in certain medical circumstances. More often than not, a Cert III qualified caregiver is the right solution.

What is a Caregiver?

A caregiver is someone who helps a person with daily living activities. Most tasks required to care for someone at home center around personal hygiene, such as showering and toileting, and companionship. Professional caregivers study these skills and are qualified to practice them in the home environment. The CareSide employs the best Cert III and Cert IV caregivers who are passionate about caring for others. However, caregivers cannot administer medicines or perform clinical interventions such as wound care and IV Therapy. For that, you need a qualified nurse.

What is an At-home Nurse?

The role of a nurse is to oversee the quality of care delivered, manage the case and provide medical interventions. Registered nurse visits are usually short (an hour or less) to perform specific tasks that require their level of clinical knowledge and training. Examples are dressing and managing wounds, taking blood samples for glucose levels and administering a variety of medications via intravenous, subcutaneous or intramuscular injection including antibiotics and schedule 8 drugs such as morphine.

When caring for someone at home, a caregiver can provide most of the care, with a nurse providing specialist medical care when needed. This approach keeps costs down as nurses typically cost double what a caregiver costs.

The CareSide employs both registered nurses and caregivers and will recommend the appropriate level of care to suit your individual situation. We believe registered nurses and caregivers should work in partnership with the client, the client’s family, and the client’s doctor. This approach optimizes health care outcomes, leading to less hospitalisation and improving the quality of life.

While The CareSide’s nurses are available to meet any nursing care needs you have; if you or your loved one need care services other than the nursing services, our highly experienced caregivers provide all of the care you need. If you or your loved one does need the specialized care that only a registered nurse can provide, you may need to be aware of the different kinds of nurse.

The Different Kinds of Nurse

There are five types of nurses:

1. Registered Nurse (RN) – is the most common type of nurse. Decades ago Nurses were educated on the wards, so some of our older nurses are not University educated. These days, registered nurses complete a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and work on the wards unpaid for six months under the supervision of nurse educators where they learn the practical side of nursing and learn to apply their academic knowledge.

2. Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) – Registered nurses can undertake further education to specialise in an area of medicine, and are then called clinical nurse specialists. The highest level of nurse is a nurse practitioner who can prescribe some medications. If you need a CNS or nurse practitioner we can recommend one to you.

3. Endorsed Enrolled Nurse (EEN) – An enrolled nurse who has completed additional study to be able to administer medicine.

4. Enrolled Nurse (EN) – An enrolled nurse has completed a year working in the hospital and studying.

5. Assistant in Nursing (AIN) – This is not a nurse. This is a person who assists the registered or enrolled nurses. Assistants in nursing or ‘AIN’ are also called personal caregivers, community care workers or support workers and they provide most of the support in the community, nursing homes and hospitals.

If you are unsure whether you need a nurse or a caregiver in your situation, our care manager can do a free consultation which will give you a Care Plan that will optimize your care outcome for the lowest cost to you.

For more information, please visit our homepage at or call us on 1300 85 40 80.

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