Home Health vs Home Care – What’s the Difference?

Do you have a desire to stay in your own home as long as possible but need some assistance to accomplish this goal?  Are you confused with where to begin in your search for care?  With so many in-home care options available today, the task to find the right fit for you or your loved one can seem daunting. Before you can find that perfect match, you need to define what type of care you need.  Home health and home care are two great options available to seniors today.  But which is right for you?  Most have heard of these options and use the terms interchangeably, but in fact, they are two distinct types of care with some important differences.  

Home health care is clinical medical care provided by either a registered nurse, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or other skilled medical professional.  In short, it is medical care that is prescribed by your doctor and administered in your home.  This type of care is often prescribed as part of a care plan after a hospital stay, as a way to help the senior transition back to independence in his or her own home.  In addition, home health can be prescribed after an individual has a medication change to monitor for side effects and to measure the success of the new medication.  If an individual experiences an overall decline in functioning, home health may also administer therapy to help learn new skills or regain some of the functioning skills he or she has lost.

Some basic services provided by home health care include:  Therapy, skilled nursing care, administrating of medications and/or injections, medical testing, health monitoring, pain management, and wound care.  Since home health care is considered medical care and must be prescribed by a physician, it is often a more expensive option but does have the ability to be covered by medical insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.

Home care, on the other hand, provides non-medical care when an individual needs help with the activities of daily living.  Not only can a caregiver or home care aide provide help with basic tasks like bathing, dressing, cooking, and household chores, but they can provide emotional support, companionship, and friendship as well.  Unlike home health, home care is classified as personal care or companion care and is considered “non-clinical”.

Home care service often requires private pay, as it is not covered by Medicare.  However, many long-term insurance plans cover home care, and Medicaid is accepted for qualified low-income seniors. 

Services provided by home care can include: Meal preparation, help with personal grooming and bathing, help moving around and getting in and out of bed or the shower, medication reminders, help with bill paying, house cleaning, transportation to the store or appointments, and companionship. 

Kam Blunier, whose mother was a client of Snyder Village Home Care, appreciates the help home care provided when her mom needed it most.  An added benefit was the companionship and the friendship her mother gleaned from the caregivers.  She explains, “We had a great experience.  My mom made really good friends.  They were wonderful to her.  They would bend over backwards for us.  As her needs changed, she went from needing care for three hours a day up to needing care for 16 hours a day.  It took the stress off of us to have her cared for so well.  We couldn’t have asked for better help.”

Snyder Village Home Care provides a helping hand to individuals in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Marshall Counties.  Frequency and duration of services are based on the individual’s needs and flexible scheduling is available.  Call Snyder Village Home Care at (309) 367-2300 for more information and to schedule a no-cost, in-home consultation. 

If you or your loved ones’ needs go beyond just one service, home health and home care services can be combined to make sure every need is met.  For example, both services can be combined for a senior who is recovering after a hospitalization.  The home health service can help with therapy and clinical needs, while the home care team can manage the household chores and transportation to doctor appointments.  

When the responsibility of caring for a loved one in the home becomes too much for family or friends to provide, professional support is readily available with home health or home care.  Whatever needs you or your loved one may have, take comfort in knowing that an extra helping hand is just a phone call away.