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The Difference Between Home Care & Home Health Care

Caregiver smiling with senior man.

There are many services available today that can help sustain a healthy lifestyle for aging adults. It is not uncommon for many seniors to begin to face more physical challenges while trying to maintain their independence and carry out activities of daily living. This is where home health care and home care come into the picture. While the terms may seem interchangeable, they actually refer to two very distinct types of services. Read on to learn more about the two services available for aging adults and decide which one may be best for your unique situation.

What is home care?

Home care services are designed to help older adults accomplish their daily living activities, such as bathing, grooming and meal preparation. Home care providers may also offer companionship and assistance with transportation to appointments and for running errands.

Unlike home health care services, home care services are typically non-medical by nature and provided by non-medical professionals such as certified nursing assistants or personal care aides.

What is home health care?

Home health care services are typically provided by skilled medical professionals like registered nurses or licensed therapists, who come to the patient’s home to deliver essential medical care. The goal of home health care services is to help seniors manage and treat their medical conditions in the comfort of their own home so they can continue to live as independently as their health warrants. Some of the services provided by home health professionals include wound care, medication management, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.

The main difference between the two…

One of the main differences between home care and home health care is the type of care provided to the senior. Home health is medical-based care while home care is focused on non-medical challenges that may arise. While both services may be essential for aging adults, they serve different needs.

Another difference between home care and home health care is the level of training required to fulfill this position. Home health care is staffed with licensed medical professionals. They are required to have medical training and expertise in order to deliver medical care in a home setting. Home care providers do not require a medical license, however, they may be required to be certified or trained in certain areas, such as CPR and first aid.

What is the cost?

Depending on which service fits your needs, the prices of home health care and home care services can vary significantly. Home care services are usually paid out-of-pocket by the senior or their families while home health care is typically covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurance, as long as they are ordered by a doctor or deemed medically necessary for the health of the older adult.

Note: home health care and home care services can be used together to provide comprehensive care for seniors. For example, a senior who has recently had surgery may require home health services to manage their wound care and physical therapy, as well as home care services to assist with activities of daily living. In these unique cases, home health and home care providers may work together to create a care plan that meets the senior's needs to promote health and wellness.

As you have learned, there are marked differences between the two types of home care services. What you must remember is home care is non-medical and home health care is performed by medical professionals but both services are performed in the senior’s home in order to promote the health and wellness of the aging adult. By understanding the differences between these two types of services, seniors and their families can make informed decisions about the type of care that best meets their needs.


Read more about a healthy senior lifestyle: here! Or, find a new healthy recipe: here!


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