Frail care vs Home Nursing

Frail care in a facility differs from frail care in a home nursing setting.

In the context of our ageing population, many people are searching for options for their future selves or their elderly parents for care. It is difficult to predict whether you will need care and therefore planning as if it will happen – especially from a financial perspective – is important.

What is the difference between frail care and home nursing? We first need to clarify what the definition of “frail care” is. Frail care refers to care needed by any person unable to perform activities of daily living and being unable to function independently. This condition could be acute (recovery period after injury or illness, post-hospitalisation) or it can be chronic, the latter most often associated with advanced age. Therefore, home nursing very often includes frail care.

Frail care in a facility differs from frail care in a home nursing setting.

The main differences between frail care in an institution and frail care rendered in the home environment are the following:

  • In a facility, there is a registered nurse on duty to supervise the care rendered by care workers to all the patients
  • The carer:patient ratio can be 1:5 in a facility, whereas home nursing is individualised care
  • Home nursing occurs in a patient or their family’s familiar environment, whereas facilities often could be perceived as “cold and clinical”
  • The price of care in a frail care facility can vary tremendously, it will depend on the location, the number of beds in the facility and whether there are special needs catered for, for example dementia care or mental health illnesses
  • Home nursing can make more provision for the individual’s routine and needs and does not need to accommodate other patients with different needs

Some frail care facilities had severe restrictions during the pandemic that prevented families to visit their loved ones, home nursing can be rendered safely if covid regulations are followed and the patient can still see or be around their loved ones.

Take care in choosing the correct home nursing agency, make sure there is supervision and that the carers are well trained and taken care off.  It is very important that carers’s credentials are checked and verified by the nursing agency and that they are taken through orientation to establish their skills.  Also of utmost importance is that a criminal check is conducted on all potential carers by the agency and that the agency has a registered PR number to be able to claim from medical scheme benefits for home nursing, if applicable in the patient’s chosen medical scheme fund option.

Do you homework before making this decision.  Home Nursing has many benefits if the carers are properly and continuously trained, and if the care is managed by a team from the agency’s side.

Medwell SA offers Managed Home Health Care countrywide, they also run various Frail Care Facilities across the country.  For more information visit

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