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Home Care Vs. Home Health Care: What’s The Difference?

Home Care vs. Home Health Care: What’s The Difference?

Coping with the changes involved with aging can be difficult for everyone involved. When your parent or another beloved elder can no longer stay at home without some type of assistance, understanding all of the options for in-home care is vital. But it can also be confusing. 

For example, what is the difference between home health care and home care? The two terms may sound alike, but they are different services. Before hiring professional assistance, make certain you understand home care terminology to get the care your loved one needs.

What Is the Difference Between Home Health Care and Home Care?

Simply put, home health care is in-home medical care that is typically prescribed by a doctor, and home care is non-medical assistance.

Home Health Care

Home health care is sometimes referred to as in-home nursing. Both terms refer to the hiring of a skilled medical worker to help patients at home with their chronic or recurring medical needs. 

A home health care worker may be a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN). In rare cases, a medical doctor may provide home health care services.

Home health care is often needed when patients return home from the hospital after a procedure or when they need help managing chronic conditions like diabetes. When a doctor deems such care necessary, costs will be paid at least in part by health insurance.

While it is costly to pay for home health care privately, families and seniors can also hire in-home medical care without a doctor’s prescription. When weighing home care vs. home health care, keep in mind that home health care is more expensive because it involves trained medical professionals. 

Some of the services provided by home health care providers include:

  • Wound care
  • Post-surgical care
  • Injections
  • Checking vital signs
  • Managing pain
  • Intravenous therapies
  • Monitoring serious illness
  • Educating patients and caregivers
  • Monitoring prescription medications

Home health care workers do not cook meals, take care of a patient’s errands, or help with everyday needs like dressing or personal grooming.

Finding Home Health Care

If your referring health care provider prescribes home health care, they should also provide a list of agencies in your area. Providers must disclose if they have a financial interest in an agency they recommend.

When you are paying for in-home nursing privately, you have many choices. Remember that only licensed medical professionals are qualified to provide in-home health care.

What Is Home Care?

Home care is probably what most seniors and their families think about when it’s time for assistance. Home care is non-medical care that does not require a prescription from a doctor. You can decide to hire an in-home assistant whenever you feel the time is right.

Professional caregivers help seniors live as independently as possible in their own homes. Some of the services they provide include:

An in-home assistant can also help seniors with mobility issues such as difficulty getting out of bed or getting around the home safely.

Benefits of In-Home Assistance

If you are still unsure about the benefits of home care vs. home health care, consider that the most important service a home care worker provides may be companionship.

Loneliness is one of the biggest challenges independent seniors face. Even the most attentive family members cannot be with their loved one 24 hours a day. Older adults who live alone are more likely to report feeling depressed and anxious.

The fear of falling or having some other type of accident with no one around to help can seriously impact an older person’s enjoyment of life and willingness to stay active. 

Companionship provided by an in-home assistant not only helps an older adult feel more confident in their ability to remain at home, it can help slow memory loss and improve emotional welfare. 

Having a home care assistant check on your elderly loved one and spend a few hours with them every day or every few days can make all the difference in maintaining a high quality of life.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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