What is the difference between Home Care and Home Health? The names are often used interchangeably by people who are not familiar with the industry and that can be confusing but there is a distinct difference between the two. In a nutshell Home Care is a non-medical service and Home Health is a medically based service. If that doesn’t clear things up let’s dive in a little deeper.
Home Health is paid for by Medicare, you have to have a doctor’s prescription and it is used for a limited period of time. To qualify for Home Health an assessment will be done to determine your care needs. Home Health is often prescribed when somebody is leaving the hospital, or a rehab facility and they need some additional care at home. It is limited so you may only get a few visits a week. This service does not fulfill the role of a primary caregiver. Home Health care can send out physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, wound care specialists etc. to help you acclimate back to home life. For example, if someone had a stroke and their speech was affected Home Health care can send a speech therapist to the person in need of help instead of that person going to a facility for rehabilitation. They do not help with basic household tasks such as cooking or cleaning and will not be there full time to provide care such as medication assistance.
Home Care can help with many of the day-to-day activities such as getting dressed, taking a shower, going to the grocery store, taking you to doctors appointments, taking out the garbage and other little things around the house that may have become challenging. Home Care which is non-medical is usually private pay, so you pay out of your pocket. In some cases, benefits like the veteran’s administration aid and attendance program or long-term care insurance may help cover some of these costs.
While Home Health and Home Care are two very different services there could be instances in which you need both of them together at the same time. For instance, physical therapy following a hip surgery may limit your ability to keep up with regular household chores. In this case Home Health would be there for the physical therapy and Home Care will be there to help with the other everyday tasks. Friends, family, and spouses can only do so much and often have obligations of their own aside from acting as a care giver. Bringing in a little help can relieve a great deal of stress for everyone involved.