If you are researching care options for an aging loved one, you may be wondering what the difference is between home care and home health care. It can be confusing to understand, especially since these terms are often used interchangeably by mistake. Although both services are provided in a home setting, there are some key differences that set them apart.
Home care refers to non-medical services aimed at helping older adults stay safe and comfortable living in their own home. These services are primarily used for individuals that need assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing and meal preparation. In-home caregivers can also serve as companions for seniors who risk experiencing feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
Home care services include:
- Help with bathing, dressing and grooming
- Mobility assistance
- Light housekeeping
- Meal preparation
- Medication reminders
Caregivers who have been trained in various aspects of senior care provide home care services. While some caregivers may have a background that includes working in healthcare such as a CNA, it is not a requirement for caregiver certification. Many home care agencies provide ongoing training to ensure caregivers stay up-to-date on senior care protocol.
Home care costs are typically paid for privately, however many long term care insurance plans cover home care expenses. Programs such as Medicaid can also help cover the cost for qualified low-income seniors.
Home Health Care
Home health care refers to medical care provided at home by a licensed professional, such as a nurse or physical therapist. Aimed at helping a patient recover from surgery or serious illness, home health services are usually part of a care plan following a stay at a hospital or rehabilitation facility. It can also be beneficial for individuals who have had medication changes, in order to monitor for potential side effects and ensure the medication is effective.
Home health care requires a written order from a doctor, and because it is considered medical care, Medicare and most insurance plans cover the cost.
Home health care services include:
- Wound care
- Occupational and physical therapy
- Administration of intravenous medication and injections
- Medication management
- Monitoring health status
Although they are two distinctly different services, home care and home health care can be beneficial when used together. For example, when a senior returns home from the hospital, a licensed home health aide can provide necessary rehabilitative medical care, while an in-home caregiver can assist with personal care, meal preparation and keeping the house in order during recovery.
If you think your loved one might benefit from home care services, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team can help assess your family’s needs and create a care plan that will help your loved one enjoy life safely in their own home.