home care vs home health care

Home Care vs Home Health Care

In an era where the demand for personalized and accessible healthcare is on the rise, the question of ‘Home Care vs Health Care’ arises. Although the two terms are frequently used interchangeably and sound similar, it is crucial to recognize the distinctions between them, as they cater to different needs and requirements. Understanding the differences between Home Care and Home Health Care can help you feel confident when securing care for yourself or a loved one.   

Home care is a broad term encompassing a range of non-medical services designed to support patients’ daily needs and enhance their quality of life. Commonly provided by professional Caregivers, such as Home Health Aides (HHAs) and Personal Care Aides (PCAs), Home Care services primarily focus on assisting with tasks that may become challenging due to age, illness, or disability. Some common services provided by home care agencies include:  

Companionship – Offer social interaction and support to isolated patients who may feel lonely. 

Personal Care – Assist with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. 

Meal Preparation – Assist with meal planning, preparation, and feeding if necessary. 

Light Housekeeping – Help with light household chores, such as cleaning and laundry, to maintain a comfortable and safe living environment. 

Alternatively, Home Health Care is a more specialized service that delivers medical care and treatment in a home setting. A physician typically prescribes this type of care and involves care from licensed nurses and therapists. Key components of Home Health Care include:

Nursing Care – May administer medications, monitor vital signs, and other medical treatments as needed.  

Therapy Services – Therapists may work with patients based on specific needs, such as mobility and speech.   

Medical Equipment Management – Assist with setting up medical equipment, such as mobility devices or ventilators.   

Pain Management – Help manage pain medication and alleviate pain for patients dealing with chronic pain or recovering from surgery.  

Home Care expenses are commonly paid out of pocket by the patient or through long-term care insurance, and eligibility requirements do not exist. However, if the agency providing the service is a Licensed Medicaid agency and the patient meets eligibility, home care may be reimbursed.  

Home Health Care requires a doctor’s order and patients must meet specific eligibility criteria. Home Health Care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance plans for eligible patients.  

Home Care can help patients 24/7, depending on the patient’s budget and needs. Care continues as long as a patient wants, based on budget and needs.  

Home Health Care visits are typically a few hours per week, depending on the patient’s needs and doctor’s orders, and continues as long as the doctor certifies the patient and meets eligibility requirements.     

Home Care provides “non-clinical” or “non-skilled” care by professional caregivers who help with ADLs, such as bathing, dressing, and toileting. It does not include medical care like nursing or therapy.    

Home Health Care services are more medical in nature, providing “clinical” or “skilled” care by licensed nurses and therapists. Though HHAs are available to help with ADLs until the patient can safely do them again or has a caregiver who can safely assist, the primary focus is skilled nursing and therapy. 

Home Care and Home Health Care may have distinct primary focuses, but their shared objective is to provide personalized and tailored care to individuals based on their specific needs and preferences in the comfort and safety of their homes. A key advantage of both Home Care and Home Health Care is their cost-effectiveness compared to hospital or facility care, making them more accessible options for individuals seeking quality care while maintaining affordability.