What is the Difference Between Live-in Care and 24 Hour Home Care?

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If around-the-clock care is needed, you have the option of 24 hour home care and live-in care to ensure a caregiver will be there throughout the day and night. Both services are great alternatives to assisted living as they allow clients to receive 24/7 care while allowing them to stay in the comfort of their home. But how do you know which one to choose? We discuss the differences between the two services to give you more insight into which option is better for you or your loved one.

Although live-in care and 24 hour home care may differ slightly by location, below is a general summary including the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Live-In Care 24 Hour home Care
Number of caregivers per day 1 caregiver Minimum 2 caregivers*
Hours per day a caregiver works 24 hours 8 or 12 hours per caregiver*
Sleeping break 8 hours Optional — decided by you
Cost Flat rate per day

4 hour break coverage
(Billed hourly)

Hourly rate per day

12 hour overnight
(Billed hourly if caregiver remains awake; flat rate if caregiver can sleep)

*May vary depending on location.

Live-in Care

With live-in care, one caregiver is booked daily for a 24 hour period. One caregiver can be booked for a maximum of four to five days per week depending on the location. For the other days, a different caregiver will be booked. In the 24 hour period, a 4 hour break is given to the daytime caregiver. You can decide if you want coverage for these 4 hours or not. For a live-in shift, the caregiver is allowed an 8 hour sleeping break and a sleeping bed must be provided for this caregiver. Live-in care is billed at a flat rate per day and if the 4 hour break coverage is requested then the break is billed at an hourly rate.


The biggest advantage of having live-in care is that the number of caregivers is significantly reduced with ideally two scheduled caregivers for the whole week. This provides consistency in care and gives clients a chance to build relationships with their caregivers.


The con to having live-in care is that there is a 4 hour break given to the daytime caregiver with optional coverage. However, if you choose not to have coverage, the daytime caregiver is permitted to leave for 4 hours which either leaves the client alone or a family member will need to cover. If you choose to have the coverage, then the 4 hour break will be an additional hourly cost to the flat live-in rate. At night, the caregiver is given a mandatory sleeping break so the client will not have direct supervision.

 24 Hour Home Care

With 24 hour care, two caregivers are booked daily and work 12 hours each. Sometimes 3 x 8 hour visits are preferred in order to ensure caregivers are at their maximum level of alertness. One caregiver can work a maximum of 4 x 12 hour visits per week. For the other visits, different caregivers will be booked to cover. There is no sleeping break given to a caregiver during a 12 hour visit. However, you can allow the overnight caregiver to sleep if you choose to. 24 hour care is billed at an hourly rate. The overnight visit is billed at a flat rate if it is a sleeping visit and hourly rate if it is a non-sleeping visit.


The benefit of having 24 hour home care is that a caregiver will be with a client at all times and will be awake even throughout the night to ensure supervision of the client. Some people prefer this option as they believe caregivers are more refreshed and alert since there is at least one caregiver rotation in a 24 hour period.


The con with this option is that the cost is higher due to it being billed at an hourly rate. Live-in care roughly works out to be half the cost of 24 hour care so 24 hour home care is the more expensive alternative of the two. Also, this option has less consistency in caregivers so this might not be a good option for a client who needs familiarity.

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