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Group Home vs Foster Home: What's the Difference?



If your relative has a developmental disability, you might be considering additional help and support especially if looking after them yourself isn’t a sustainable plan. Adults with developmental disabilities can either be given residency in a group home, or foster care can be found for them. To help you make the right decision when it comes to choosing the best care for your loved one, we’ve put together this detailed review. So, let’s take a look at the key differences between group homes for adults with mental illness, and an adult foster home.



Advantages Of A Group Home Placement

A group home is a place where care can be given to a group of people with similar disabilities within a shared residence. This option can be offered for those with intellectual disabilities, medical conditions, or a combination of both. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 15,600 group homes in the United States with 1.7 million licensed beds, occupied by 1.4 million patients.¹ Let’s take a look at the pros of group home care.


1: A Group Home Supports Individuality

Group home care can support a loved one’s individuality while safeguarding their physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Unlike foster care, agroup home has a staff rota, which means residents can socialize with a wide range of people and develop their communication skills too. The more people your loved one is able to connect with, the better for their overall sense of health and wellbeing.


2: Licensed & Level Of Care Assessments

Before they may legally open for business, group homes for adults with mental illness must be licensed by the state, and they must undergo comprehensive regular inspections. These rules guarantee that the home's administrators and personnel follow safety procedures and adhere to stringent residential care standards. Details such as facility upkeep and everyday operations are also thoroughly assessed for safety and compliance. Staff workers in safe group homes have undergone rigorous training. They will know how to relate to the person they’re caring for, how to support them alongside their disabilities and prevent them from losing their independence too


3: Thorough Medical Treatment

Adults with disabilities may have physiological, emotional, or mental health issues that demand long-term care. Staff workers at group homes for adults with mental illness will be highly experienced on how to coordinate medical and mental health therapy, which may include:

● Providing nurse care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

● Following the instructions of the physicians

● Medication administration and distribution

● Providing transportation to medical appointments and meetings


4: Enhances Their Social Life

Life is more enjoyable and focused when you participate in group activities. They also give healthy stimulation and aid in the improvement of one's quality of life. Adults with impairments can benefit from the experiences of people with comparable and dissimilar abilities if they connect on a regular basis. As a result, group homes provide a wide range of activities for adult members to enjoy and get to know each other. Daily enrichment social activities will empower your loved one.


Disadvantages Of A Group Home

Now let’s review the possible downsides to a group home placement.


1: Placement Can Be Expensive

Group homes for adults with mental illness can be a bit costly due to its all inclusive nature and the fact that staff are available 24/7. This can make it unaffordable for those with limited finances. However, there are some great finance options in the USA that can significantly help towards group home payment and long-term care. This service is free to all Individuals in Oregon with a documented diagnosis of I/DD.


2: The Home May Not Be On Your Doorstep

Despite the fact that most group homes allow visitors all day, the location of residential care might be rather far away from the family. In some cases this can make it more challenging for families and relatives to visit as often as they’d like to. When deciding which care facility is best for your loved one, distance can play a key element in the final decision made.





Advantages Of A Foster Home

On the other hand, a foster home can also be a viable option for an adult with developmental disabilities. There are currently around 19,000 adult foster care homes in the USA. The household setting must be authorized and supervised by someone who is certified to work with groups in foster care in order to be categorized as an adult foster home. A house manager, house parents, counselors, social workers, and legal aids are all likely to be present in a foster home. These employees are compensated to look after the residents of the facility. Let’s review the benefits of foster care for adults.


1: Home-Like Environment

Seniors in foster care generally need assistance with everyday tasks such as transportation and meal preparation. They could also need help getting dressed and completing duties around the house. Some foster homes organize social or recreational events for their residents, along with providing daily support which can create a familiar home-like setting. This approach can be best for those who wish to stay close to their next of kin and find big changes such as moving far away and into a group home too difficult to manage.


2: Relieves The Stress And Worry of Family Members

When you're in a foster home, you're taken care of. Friends and family members can rest easy knowing that someone is always available in case something goes wrong. Residents can live comfortably, and their families may live worry-free knowing that care is provided by a live-in member of staff. Foster homes provide people with the flexibility, security, and comfort of round-the-clock care.


Disadvantages Of A Foster Home

In some cases, foster care or a foster home might not be a good fit for your loved one. So let’s take a look at the cons of this type of care.


1: Limited Availability

Due to demand and limited placement availability, you may find it tough to secure a place at a foster care facility. So if time is against you when searching for additional help and long-term support, this may not be a viable option. Many organizations have long waiting lists of those looking for a placement and certain conditions are often required of applicants admitted. This is why you’ll need to start the process of finding a care home as early as possible.


2: Lower Level Of Medical Care

Unlike group homes, foster care homes are usually smaller and have fewer residents. Since the residents are usually more capable and require less than those in a group home, they typically have less members of staff and fewer resources. This is why staff turnover can be high, meaning your loved one might feel anxious or insecure, as they form a bond with a member of staff, only for them to quit due to work-related stress and burnout.

A high staff turnover in a foster home can also mean your loved one will not receive a high-quality of care, since it can often take time for adults with developmental disabilities to trust a new care provider. Building up a long-term relationships with a care provider can help the member of staff to understand their needs, physical and mental abilities and adapt their level of care to what your relative really needs.




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