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Intermittent Care - Apostolic Skylines Home Care Blog

Intermittent Care - A New Trend in Home Care

Independent living facilities are senior living communities designed for older adults who do not need regular medical assistance

Or help with activities of daily living—called ADLs—such as dressing, eating, using the toilet, and personal hygiene. Many individuals in independent living communities, however, will eventually need some form of help with at least a few of their ADLs—but less than the around-the-clock access to medical care or full-scale assistance available at nursing homes and assisting living facilities.  Life spans are increasing and despite, the normal declines that accompany aging and often affect the ability to perform ADLs, most people want to live in an independent setting as long as possible.

For individuals in living in an independent living community who have needs that fall somewhere between independent and assisted living, bringing in a part-time caregiver is a sensible choice, and nearly all independent living facilities permit—and even encourage—this approach. Important: when evaluating home care agencies, be sure to screen for those licensed by the Illinois Department of  Public Health.

Intermittent Care

Once the decision is made to bring in some help, instead of scheduling all caregiving services to be delivered within large blocks of time (typically home care agencies have a four-hour minimum stay), depending on the needs and preferences of the resident, the home care agency may have the ability to build a plan of care for the tasks that address their needs that can be delivered in short time segments (usually 15 to 30 minutes) spread throughout the day. This approach to delivering home care in an independent living facility is called intermittent care. Here is an example plan for intermittent care for a fictional Mrs. Anderson (the task durations may not be representative):

Preparing for Discharge


Services typically available with intermittent care can include:


  • light housekeeping
  • dressing assistance
  • laundry and ironing
  • meal setup
  • escorting on medical visits or shopping
  • hair care assistance
  • running errands
  • nail care
  • skin care
  • shaving assistance
  • ambulation assistance
  • toileting assistance
  • bathing assistance
  • medication reminding


What is different about the intermittent care model of care?
  • The resident pays only for the services they receive. No four-hour minimum stay; no paying the agency while the caregiver is idle between tasks. Home care becomes more affordable: “a little bit of help” is suddenly less expensive.
  • Because of their proximity, residents can “share” the caregiver (or caregivers) with other residents in the facility. In this example, when the caregiver is not providing service to Mrs. Anderson, she is elsewhere in the facility, providing service to another resident.
  • This model works only when it is possible to make a detailed plan for a set of specific tasks that can be delivered in short time segments spread throughout the day.
  • This model works only when companion care (in which the caregiver is required to be present at all times) is not required.

While not all home care agencies have the capability to deliver intermittent care services, the number who can do so is growing. If you are looking for home care services for an individual living in an independent living community, ask the home care agencies you interview if they can provide it.


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