What is the difference between community and personal care?

Community Nursing Services and Personal care services are two common types of home health care services that individuals may require at some point in their lives. 

However, the difference between these two types of services may not always be clear, leading to confusion when choosing the right service for yourself or a loved one. Community nursing services focus on providing clinical nursing care to patients in their homes, while personal care services offer non-clinical support for daily living activities.  

By understanding the difference between these two types of care services, you can make an informed decision about which service is best suited for your needs or those of a loved one. 

In this blog, we will explore the differences between these two types of care services and the benefits they provide.

What is Community Nursing? 

Community nursing is an essential aspect of healthcare that plays a critical role in improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs in the comfort of their own homes. According to a study published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, community nursing has been associated with reduced hospital admissions, decreased healthcare costs, and improved patient satisfaction (Masters et al., 2015). 

The services provided by qualified registered nurses who have received specialised training in delivering high-quality clinical care to patients in their homes. These nurses work in close collaboration with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive care to patients, including: 

  • Physicians 
  • Social workers 
  • Physical therapists 

Community nurses provide a wide range of services, including: 

  • wound care 
  • medication management 
  • pain management 
  • personal hygiene care. 

These services are tailored to meet the specific needs of each patient and are delivered in a manner that respects their privacy and promotes their comfort, while promoting patient independence. 

Who Needs Community Nursing? 

Community nursing services are designed to provide clinical nursing care to patients in the comfort of their own home and can be beneficial for individuals who require ongoing care and support.   

So, who may benefit from community nursing? 

  1. Elderly individuals who have mobility issues or chronic health conditions that require regular monitoring and management. 
  2. Individuals with disabilities who need assistance with daily living activities but prefer to remain in their own home. 
  3. Patients who are recovering from surgery or illness and require wound care, IV medication administration, or other forms of clinical nursing care. 
  4. Those who require palliative care or end-of-life care in the comfort of their own home. 

In order to access community nursing services, patients can reach out to a provider directly, or they may receive a referral from a GP, hospital discharge planner, or veteran’s home care assessment agency. It is also worth noting that patients with a Commonwealth funded Home Care Package may be able to access community nursing services as part of their care plan. 

What is Personal Care?  

Personal care services refer to the provision of non-clinical support to individuals who require assistance with daily living activities, especially those who may be elderly, disabled or suffering from chronic illnesses.  

What do personal care services include at Vital Home Health Services?  

  • Physical Assistance for Personal Hygiene 
  • Mobility, Transfers & Transport Support 
  • Dressing 
  • Support & Supervision of Mobility Aid Use 
  • Therapy Support 
  • Support & Supervision of Mobility Aid Use 

These services are provided by experienced support carers who have undergone specific training to meet the individual needs of each client. Unlike community nursing services, personal care services do not involve wound care or clinical attention by a Registered Nurse. 

Personal care services are especially beneficial to those who want to maintain their independence but require some assistance with daily living activities. They provide clients with an opportunity to remain in their homes and maintain their quality of life. 

Who Needs Personal Care Services? 

Personal care services are designed to provide non-clinical support to clients who require assistance with their daily living activities. This includes tasks such as bathing, dressing, toileting, meal preparation, and mobility assistance.  

Who are the individuals that could potentially benefit from personal care services? 

  1. Elderly individuals who may have difficulty with daily living activities due to physical limitations, chronic illness, or cognitive decline 
  2. People with disabilities who require assistance with daily tasks such as dressing, feeding, or toileting 
  3. Individuals recovering from an injury or surgery who require temporary assistance with daily tasks 
  4. Family caregivers who need respite care or additional support in caring for a loved one at home

The Difference between Community Nursing and Personal Care  

 Community nursing and personal care are two important aspects of healthcare that are often confused with each other. While they share some similarities, there are also key differences between the two. In this table, we will compare and contrast community nursing and personal care to help clarify these differences. 

Comparison Table: Community Nursing vs. Personal Care 

AspectCommunity Nursing Personal Care
DefinitionProvides clinical nursing services to patients in their own homes Provides non-medical assistance to patients with activities of daily living in their homes
Type of CareMedicalNon-medical
Provided byQualified registered nurses Caregivers or personal care attendants
Skills RequiredAdvanced clinical skills Basic care skills
Examples of ServicesWound care, IV medication administration, personal hygiene Assistance with bathing, dressing, grooming, and meal preparation
GoalPromote independence and maintain lifestyle of patientsImprove quality of life by supporting activities of daily living
Referral SourcesGP, hospital discharge planner, veteran’s home care assessment agency Family members, friends, or private pay

In summary, community nursing provides clinical nursing services to patients in their homes while personal care provides non-medical assistance with activities of daily living. While they may overlap in some areas, the type of care, skills required, and referral sources differ significantly. Understanding the difference between community nursing and personal care is important for patients and healthcare professionals alike to ensure that patients receive the appropriate care for their needs.  

At Vital Home Health Services, we’re committed to assisting you and your loved ones to navigate the system of care and support services available to you.  

Whether you need community nursing services or personal care services at home, we have experienced and qualified staff to provide the care and support you need.  

Call us today to discuss your needs and see how we can help.