A private duty nurse is a skilled nursing professional (an RN or LPN) who provides one-on-one care in the comfort of a patient’s home. They support patients by assisting with activities of daily living (ADL) and providing medical care. Private duty nurses play an essential role in the continuum of care for seniors who are aging in place and living with chronic health conditions.
Who needs a private duty nurse?
A home health aid or a skilled nursing service may make home visits when a patient is recovering from an illness or operation. But, a private duty nurse is a professional who will stay with a patient at home as part of a long-term care plan. Seniors who may need private duty nursing include those who:
- Have a chronic condition
- Need ventilator care
- Need gastrostomy care
- Have a frequent need for medical injections or IV therapy
- Are recovering from a stroke
What does a private duty nurse do?
A private duty nurse will perform essentially all of the same tasks as a skilled nursing service. The main difference is that a nurse on private duty usually spends long periods of time with their patient. Because of this, a private duty nurse will often take on responsibilities of medical and non-medical nature. Here are some examples of what you can expect from a private duty nurse:
- Diet monitoring
- Wound care
- Vital monitoring
- Managing chronic illnesses
- Assist with ADL
- Light homemaking
- Medication administration and monitoring
- Collaborating with families and other care professionals
How much does a private duty nurse cost?
The cost of a private duty nurse will vary a lot depending on your location, their qualifications, and whether you’re hiring someone independently or through an agency. Hourly rates can start as low as $15 and go as high as $30. The national average is around $27 per hour.
How can I pay?
Many choose to pay out-of-pocket, but there are plenty of other options that can help pay for a private duty nurse.
Will Medicare pay? Well, it depends. Medicare generally does not pay for long-term care. But, Medicare Part A can sometimes be utilized for short-term, doctor-prescribed home care. In other words: this is a case-by-case thing, and when the time comes, you’ll have to check your policy for specifics.
Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps low-income individuals pay for care. It can help with the cost of both custodial and medical care. Every state has different qualification requirements, so visit Medicaid.gov to learn about eligibility in your state.
Long-Term Care Insurance
This is supplemental insurance that helps pay for costs associated with long-term care. Many policies will include skilled and private duty nursing, but be sure to check for yourself!
Related: Long-Term Care Insurance Basics
How do I find help near me?
If you’re looking for home care near you, we have a directory for that!