Understanding the Differences Between “Home Health” and “Home Care”

Home health and home care are often mistaken for the same. Depending on the state, agencies may use these terms interchangeably. Although they both involve providing care at home, there are significant distinctions between them. Awareness of these differences can aid in determining which type of care suits one’s needs and financial resources.
Understanding the definitions of both terms is important to properly compare home health and home care.
Definition of Home Health Care
Home health care refers to medical assistance offered in the comfort of one’s own home to manage a long-term health issue or aid in recovering from sickness, injury, or surgery. This type of care is often sought after a decline in health or a diagnosis of a severe medical condition. It is a common transition for individuals recently discharged from a hospital, rehabilitation center, or skilled nursing facility. The main objectives of home health care are to promote recovery and maintain a person’s independence.
The home health definition has some vital information that should be considered.
Home health care services cater to occasional or recurring needs. They can encompass a variety of services such as nursing, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, medical social work, wound care, education for patients and caregivers, and assistance with daily tasks like bathing and dressing provided by a home health aide. When prescribed by a healthcare professional, these services may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or certain private insurance plans.
Home Care: An Explanation
Home care refers to assistance with daily tasks that enable individuals to remain secure in their own homes. This type of support is commonly utilized by senior citizens coping with long-term health conditions, individuals with disabilities, and those recuperating from medical procedures. Additionally, it may be referred to as personal care, companion care, custodial care, or homemaker services.
Home care services can encompass tasks such as bathing, using the toilet, getting dressed, grooming, and household tasks like cleaning and transportation. Additional services may include meal preparation, companionship, and reminding patients to take their medications. The cost of home care is typically paid for by patients, although in certain situations, Medicaid or long-term insurance may cover these expenses.
Difference between Home Care and Home Health services
Comparing Home Care to Home Health Care
It is beneficial to understand their similarities to distinguish between home care and home health care. They both provide:
  • Receive care in the safety and convenience of your own home
  • Aid for senior citizens to improve their well-being and maintain their independence
  • Support with daily activities such as washing, getting dressed, and personal grooming
  • More affordable care compared to hospital or facility care
Contrasts of In-Home Care and Home Health Care
There are several notable distinctions between home health and home care:
Categories of Care
At home, healthcare offers licensed nurses and therapists to provide clinical or skilled care. On the other hand, home care offers non-clinical or non-skilled care by professional caregivers.
Offered Services
Home health care services focus on providing skilled nursing and therapy while assisting with daily tasks such as bathing, grooming, and dressing until the individual can do them independently or with the help of a caregiver. On the other hand, home care services primarily assist with everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming, cooking, cleaning, and transportation but do not include medical services such as nursing or therapy.
A physician’s prescription is necessary for home health care. Patients must meet eligibility requirements, such as the limited ability to leave one’s home and the need for assistance. However, since individuals typically pay for home care, no specific eligibility criteria exist.
Duration of Treatment
Home health care services will persist as long as your doctor certifies your eligibility and you meet the necessary requirements. Additionally, home care will continue for as long as you desire, considering your financial resources and individual needs.
Home health care is a service eligible for coverage under Medicare, Medicaid, and many private insurance plans. In most cases, the patient or their long-term care insurance will pay for home care directly. Medicaid may also provide coverage for home care services.
Team of Care
The team for home health consists of competent experts, including nurses and therapists. Both family members and trained caregivers offer services for in-home care.
Occurrence Rate
Home health care appointments usually last several hours per week, depending on the patient’s requirements and medical instructions.
Home care services can be provided round the clock, depending on the patient’s financial resources and needs.
Geographical Position
  • Individuals can receive in-home care at their place of living, including assisted living facilities and group homes.
  • Home care is commonly administered in the individual’s residence.
In the comparison of home health care and home care, it is important to note that both services can be received simultaneously. Home health care focuses on providing clinical treatment to aid in patient recovery, while home care assists with daily care and tasks. Certain organizations, such as agencies, offer both home health care and home care services.
Even though home care and home health care have numerous distinctions, they both have the potential to assist elderly individuals in maintaining their safety and independence at home. Suppose you face challenges with day-to-day activities or recuperating from a health issue, injury, or operation. In that case, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider to explore the possibility of home health or home care. To gain further information, contact a care center in your vicinity.
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