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Home Care Services: What is Private Duty Nursing and Who is it For?

Apr 23, 2018 by Stephanie Howe - Owner, Comfort Keepers

What is Private Duty Nursing and Who is it For?


If you're looking for in-home care for your elderly loved one, you will find that there are several different types of support available. It can be difficult to fully understand the range of services that are available. Private duty nursing is one of the terms you will run across. What can a private duty nurse do for you, and how does this type of care compare to others?

Private Duty Nursing vs. Home Care

Home care services are an important way to support a person living independently. These professional in-home caregivers provide help with a variety of tasks that may become difficult for the elderly person, such as bathing, feeding, and laundry. Private duty nursing, on the other hand, is done by licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs), in order to support the medical needs of the patients. Some of the tasks covered by these private duty nurses are:

  • Setting up weekly doses of medication
  • Administering medications, such as injections, nebulizers, eye drops, oral medication, and oxygen
  • Interpreting blood sugar readings, mixing insulin dosages and filling syringes
  • Personal health care, such as oral cavity suctioning and bowel care
  • Caring for ostomy bags and catheters
  • Training family members in appropriate care for the patient

Private duty nurses can provide care in-home or in a facility. They are available for shifts ranging from hourly to around-the-clock care.

When to Consider Private Duty Nursing Care

Private duty nurses focus on the medical needs of the patient. For patients requiring general, non-medical elder care, there are many services available, from respite care to dementia and Alzheimer's care. But when the needs are medical, and therefore more complex, private duty nurses are called for. Here are some of the situations that may require the services of a private duty nurse:

  • Aging in place. Many people wish for their loved one to be able to remain in their home for as long as possible. Evidence shows that moving late in life contributes to a deterioration in health. If it's possible to meet the medical needs of the patient in their own home, that is a much less stressful transition than making the move into a skilled care facility.
  • Getting through a health crisis. If there has been an illness or accident, your loved one may require more intensive medical care than usual. Private duty nursing care can help fill that gap, reducing the disruption to the patient's life and their family.
  • Support for caregivers. When family members shoulder the work of elder care, it can be a significant source of stress. Taking charge of medical needs may exacerbate that stress because caregivers may be concerned that they are not adequately trained for such tasks. Turning over the medical care to a licensed professional can be an enormous relief. A private duty nurse can also provide training for the caregiver, to help them feel more confident in the care they provide.
  • Change in medical care. Adapting to a new prescription or physical therapy regimen can be difficult. A medical professional will help the patient and their caregivers adapt to the new system. They are also equipped to recognize any potential negative reactions to such changes.
  • To augment services in a live-in facility. Sometimes a patient requires one-on-one attention, such as when they are recovering from a health crisis, or while in a transition, like after a move or the loss of a spouse. A private duty nurse can be present in a way that staff nurses are not able to.


If you live in Toms River or surrounding areas and are seeking private nursing care or any other level of in-home care, please contact us online or by phone at 732-557-0010. Comfort Keepers is dedicated to providing a spectrum of quality care that is tailored to fit each patient's needs.


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