Understanding the Differences Between Skilled Care vs. Custodial Care

When determining the best home care option for yourself or a loved one it’s important to understand the options that are available and how each of them will help you meet your needs. 

Skilled Care/Skilled Nursing 

Skilled care is medically necessary care that is provided by or under the supervision of a skilled or licensed medical professional. Along with medication management and monitoring of health status, skilled care providers can medical assistance such as intravenous drug therapy, administration or maintenance of catheters, wound care, dressing changes, blood draws and injections. 

Custodial Care 

Custodial care can be performed by someone without any professional medical skills and provide assistance with activities for daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing, grooming,  household duties, and even running the occasional errand for their charges. Custodial caregivers are ideal for seniors with minimal needs who want to age in their home and who have familial assistance when it comes to administering medication or attending medical appointments. 

Deciding which care option to choose

Unsure of which option is best? Ask yourself these four  questions before making the decision:  

  • What does the day-to-day routine look like? 
  • What challenges are we facing today? 
  • What resources do we have available?
  • What can we afford?

Feel like you need additional guidance or individualized support?

Our team of Certified Senior Advisors® and Certified Dementia Practitioners® has helped hundreds of older adults and their families. For more information or to schedule a free consultation, call 617-227-1600 or email

Dovetail Companies provides one point of contact for all services seniors may need when transitioning from their longtime home, minimizing stress and providing peace of mind to focus on the transition rather than the logistics. Dovetail Companies is the parent company to three subsidiary companies; Dovetail Support Services, Dovetail Financial and Dovetail Real Estate Group. For more information, visit or call 617-227-1600.