Caregiver Insights: Senior In Home Care

Home Health versus Home Care: What's the difference?

By Eric Grimes on Apr 14, 2016 6:22:00 PM

Recently while I was working with one of our new clients, I noticed that the family was getting quite confused.  Max was just coming home from a major surgery and had Home Health ordered by his Home_Health_Nurse_web.jpg
surgeon.  It was explained that they would handle all the wound care, medication management, and also check his vitals a few times a week.  The case manager also mentioned that Physical Therapy would be coming by twice a week as well. The family was very confused why the nurses would come by only a few times and for about an hour at a time.  They also didn’t understand why their insurance wouldn’t also cover the help they needed with all of the day to day activities (ADL’s) that they sorely needed some assistance with. So the Home Health Nurse actually gave the family information for In-Home-Care.  They called our company and asked for some help.  I arrived on a day that the nurses and therapists were coming as well.  I assisted the them in training our caregivers so we could continue the exercised with Max when the therapist wasn’t there.

When I came into the house the family was very distressed because they could not keep up with all the daily chores reuires to helping Max with his Activities of Daily Living (ADL's).  We stepped in to relieve the family with not only Max’s ADL’s, but also helped the family with some light housekeeping.  The family was so surprised to see how much stress we were able to take off of them by providing our non-medical caregivers to assist them with dressing, bathing, grooming, meal preparation, light housekeeping, and companionship.  They saw instant physical and emotional improvement due in large part to our assistance and constant encouragement. This demonstrates the value of Licensed Medical Professionals and Caregivers working together to assist in the care of a client.  

The medical services have to be ordered by a Doctor and is care given by a licensed healthcare professional such as a nurse or a physical therapist.  Generally, those healthcare professionals can only perform tasks that are ordered by a Doctor.  Nurses and therapists assists with all medical in home needs such as:

  • Wound care
  • Mobility training
  • Pain management
  • Occupational therapy or personal training
  • IV therapy or IV injections

These services are not an everyday experience.  They often only come by once or twice a week depending on the clients need.

In-Home-Care on the other hand is non-medical.  While non-medical caregivers cannot assist with any medical need like a licensed professional can, they can assist with all other Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s).  That includes:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Meal preparation and assistance with eating/drinking
  • Light housekeeping
  • Medication reminders
  • Transfers (assisted moving from sitting to standing, laying to sitting up, etc.)
  • Errand Service
  • Take the client out for social activities or other appointments. 
  • Companionship

Caregivers in the home can be an everyday experience or it can be just a few times a week. The client decides how much time and how often they would like the care. 

Although In-Home-Care and Home Health are different they often work hand in hand with one another.   For example, the Licensed Nurses can manage the medications while the non-medical caregiver can remind the client to take the medications at the correct times.  Also if the PT or OT therapist gives exercises to do at home the caregiver can encourage them to do them correctly and even assist if the PT or OT therapist trains them.  

Another difference is how the care is paid for.  Medical services are covered by Medicare or private insurance.  Caregivers have to be paid privately, but can be covered by long-term care insurances, or for a qualifying Veteran, by Veteran’s Home Care Benefits.

It’s important to know this distinction between Medical Nursing and Therapy services versus non-medical caregiver services when you start planning care for an elderly loved one.

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Medicare.Gov: What is Home Health Care?

Medline Plus: Home Care Services


Topics: Home Health Care Services, Home Care Options, Health/Medical

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Everyone Should Be Cared for With Compassion & Dignity

Caring for an aging parent or spouse can be overwhelming. It takes a lot of time and energy, especially with so much already on your plate.

We understand because we’ve been through it with our own parents. Our founders, have both taken care of their own aging parents.

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