Though home care and home health care may sound similar, they have some important distinctions. Indeed, they do have some overlapping features, but what are the services that each of them offers? How do they differ? Who can most benefit from them?
In a nutshell, home care providers offer non-medical assistance to those who need help with the activities of daily living (ADLs). Conversely, home health care provides clinical services performed by licensed medical personnel. Each of these services has its appropriate time and place, yet both can be done from the home and are tailored to fit the needs of the person receiving care.
What is Home Care?
Home care, sometimes referred to as custodial care, provides services aimed at assisting the aging and disabled to help them with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and transferring. Levels of care vary widely as services are catered to each individual client and their unique care needs. Home care services are performed by trained home health aides, who are generally not licensed medical professionals but understand the nuances of elder care and issues related to aging.
What do home care services include?
- Companion care – Socialization, mental stimulation, play
- Meal preparation – Meal planning, buying groceries, cooking, feeding
- Personal care – bathing, grooming, dressing
- Transportation and running errands
- Light Housekeeping
- 24-Hour care/ live-in care
Who can benefit from home care?
- Seniors in need of assistance with ADLs
- Family caregiver(s) who need respite care or help with daily tasks for their loved one
- Elders who need transportation to doctor’s appointments or other activities
- Isolated seniors who need mental stimulation, social contact, or companionship
What is Home Health Care?
Home health care services cater to the medical needs of their patients and are carried out by licensed medical professionals such as occupational or physical therapists, registered nurses, and LPNs. This type of care is often prescribed by a physician and carried out through a home health or hospice agency.
What do home health services include?
- Wound dressing and care
- Medical tests
- Administering medications
- Occupational and physical therapy
- Medical equipment
Who can benefit from home health care?
- Seniors recently discharged from a hospital or rehabilitation facility who still need medical assistance
- People experiencing declines in function who need assistance to regain independence
- Seniors who need medical care but prefer to stay at home rather than a hospital
- Older adults in need of a trained professional to monitor them after a change in medication
How does one pay for Home Care or Home Health Services?
Home health generally falls under the realm of medical care and is often covered by Medicare or private insurance. Alternatively, home care is viewed as personal assistance and is usually private pay or covered under some long-term care insurance plans. However, there are now Medicare Advantage plans that also cover home care as of January 2019.
They are both great options.
Some services within these two realms do commonly overlap as both aim to keep seniors safe, comfortable, healthy, and independent in their own homes. These services can also be performed at a skilled nursing or assisted living facility. It is not uncommon to see a holistic approach with clients receiving some form of care from providers in both realms.
The NCOA’s 2012 study found that 9 in 10 seniors prefer to stay in their homes as they age. As a result, both home care and home health are becoming increasingly prominent since remaining at home is more desired than prolonged hospital stays.
It’s important to understand the nature of these services to know what would best suit your or your loved one’s needs. If you have any questions or would like a free phone consultation, please Contact Us or call 800.775.6380.