Home care and home health are two home based services that sound very similar. They fill very different roles in the care plan. Sometimes the names home care and home health are used interchangeably. There are major differences between home care and home health in the way each service is paid, the types of services provided, how they are initiated, and the amount of time a person might receive support.
Home care – sometimes called private duty, or non-medical care – is care provided in a person’s residence including a private home, or at a facility where he or she resides. The care is brought in from an outside company or individual. Usually services are initiated by the client or a family member. Home caregivers support a wide range of tasks including personal care like bathing and dressing, cooking, light housekeeping, shopping, medication reminders, and nearly any task that does not require a license to accomplish. Home care services are generally paid for by private funds. Long term care insurance, and some veterans programs can offset the cost of care.
Home health is provided by licensed professionals like nurses, doctors, therapists, and certified nursing assistants. Services are ordered by a physician, and covered by insurance. Home health companies send out professionals for a specific goal like medication management or physical therapy. Although the medical professionals come to a patient’s home, their visits are usually less than an hour. Home health services are very valuable to a person’s recovery, but they are short term and episodic. If someone needs longer periods of care, then home care services may be required in tandem.
Sometimes there is confusion regarding whether a patient needs home health or home care, and some people mistakenly believe home care is a privately paid version of home health. But, these services have a very synergistic relationship. A patient who has just returned home from the hospital may have a nurse visit from a home health company for medication management once a week; while a caregiver from a home care company prepares a meal, changes lines, or takes the dog for a walk as often and as long as needed. Home health usually lasts several weeks. Home care can continue as long as a person needs it.
Patients have a lot of choices in the care providers they work with in both home health and home care. Both types of services are licensed (in many states), and care should be taken to select providers who meet or exceed licensure standards. Insurance plans may determine which home health providers are preferred in their system. Since home care is privately funded there are no provider restrictions.
When planning care after a hospital stay consider how home health and home care can compliment each other to make the return home smooth and lasting. Each situation is unique and requires a balanced approach to family resources, medicare covered services, and patient needs.
Green Tree Home Care offers the best in home care excellence. Our eight step interview process helps us find the best caregivers in the industry, and cutting edge software keeps family members involved, and informed. We offer three levels of care designed to promote the independence and safety of our clients.
Our dedicated client managers excel at matching care professionals and clients with the goal of creating meaningful care relationships, and improved safety and independence.
If you need a personal assistant to help with day to day tasks, or prefer to convalesce in your own home, we can help provide the right care professionals for your needs.