Home Care and Home Health Care: What’s the Difference?


If you use the terms “home health” and “home care” interchangeably, you aren’t alone. These terms are very similar.

While this is true, the words are used to describe very different services.

For example, home care services offer non-clinical help, including companionship and meal prep. Home health care provides professional medical care and assistance.

Another important differentiator is that home health is usually covered by private insurance or Medicare, but home care is not.

While this is true, there are some similarities, too. For example, both types of care services are available to your loved one and provided in the comfort of their home while being customized to meet their unique needs.

Keep reading to learn more about home care versus home health care.

Understanding Home Health Care Services

Home health care is a type of clinical medical supervision. It is provided by licensed medical professionals.

Some of the people who provide home health care services include physical and occupational therapists, licensed practical nurses, and others When you begin searching for home health care near me, you will likely discover several agencies offering these services.

Usually, home health care services are recommended by a physician as part of a senior’s care regimen after being injured or discharged from the hospital. Some of the services offered include:

  • Wound care
  • Occupational and physical therapy
  • Ongoing health status monitoring
  • Administration and management of prescription medications or shots
  • Medical testing

Other services may be offered, as well, depending on a person’s needs.

Who Can Benefit from Home Health Care Services?

Since home health care services are provided by medical professionals, you may wonder who can benefit from these services. There are a few people who may.

For example, seniors who have recently been discharged after staying in the hospital, at a skilled nursing facility, or from rehabilitation may need these services. Elderly individuals who need to be monitored because of a medication change may also benefit from these services.

If you have a loved one who has health problems and cannot get themselves to and from doctor’s appointments, home health care can be an invaluable resource to have.

Understanding Home Care Services

Home care services are designed to provide help and compassion for seniors who require assistance with day-to-day activities. The levels of care available can be customized to match the needs of a senior. These services range from help with prepping and shopping for meals to assistance with toileting and personal hygiene.

Today’s home care aides have unique training and hands-on experience handling all the nuances related to senior care. While this is true, they are not typically licensed to provide any type of medical services.

Some of the most common senior home care services provided include:

  • Financial management and bill paying assistance
  • Companionship for lonely seniors
  • Help with organizing and cleaning the home
  • Transportation to medical appointments and for errands
  • Meal delivery or preparation
  • Help with ADLs – activities of daily living

Again, just like with home health care services, these services can be customized for the senior’s needs.

Who Can Benefit from Home Care Services?

Many people can benefit from home care services. This includes individuals who need assistance with ADLs, from using the restroom to bathing and more. Elderly individuals who are still active but need help going to and from activities, running errands, and going to medical appointments also benefit from these services.

Keep in mind that many seniors suffer loneliness if they are stuck at home, alone, all the time. With home care services, they receive the companionship needed to remain healthy and happy while in their own home.

The Best of Both Worlds: Combining Care Services

You may have a senior loved one who would benefit from both home health care and home care services in some situations. When this is necessary, health professionals can provide the medical services needed, while home care aides will handle everything else. With this type of holistic approach, you can feel confident that your senior loved one’s medical and emotional needs are being met – even if you are unable to handle this care yourself.

Medicare Coverage Considerations

Home health usually falls under the umbrella of necessary medical services. However, home care involves ongoing personal assistance. Insurance will typically cover the care needed accordingly.

Medicare and Private Insurance

These plans cover home health services if a doctor prescribes them. If you believe your senior loved one would benefit from these services, you can ask their doctor for an evaluation. The service is provided to any senior who is qualified to receive Medicare benefits.

Medicaid Coverage

Medicaid provides coverage for both types of care. However, the coverage amounts vary from one state to another.

Private Pay Options

For some seniors, private pay is used. However, this is only required if a doctor does not order home health care services.

Long-Term Care Insurance

The coverage provided by long-term care insurance depends on if it is included in the plan purchased for your loved one. It is best to check with your insurance provider to determine if your senior loved one qualifies for this coverage.

Finding the Right Home Health or Home Care Provider

Regardless of if your senior loved one requires home health care or home care services, finding the right individual or agency for the job is essential. To ensure you find someone who is qualified for the job, get recommendations from people you know who have used these services in the past.

It is also a good idea to conduct research on your own about the local care providers in the area. By doing this, you can feel confident you have found the right service provider for the job.

Ensuring Your Senior Loved One Has the Care They Need and Deserve

Now that you understand the difference between home care services and home health care services, you can determine what option is best for your senior loved one. If they require both, this is possible, as well.

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