When to Bring in Home Health vs. Home Care

Often times, we receive calls for families looking for medical assistance. As a non-medical agency, we often need to refer them to a home health agency. But, what is the difference between home health and home care agency?

Home care and home health are distinct types of care, which are both provided in a home setting and can significantly benefit an individual’s quality of life. However, it is important to note the differences in these types of care in order to decide which best matches you or your loved one’s needs.

Notable Differences
• Home health is clinical care and home care is non-clinical care.
• Home health requires a doctor’s order in order to start care. Home care does not.
• Home health will make visits only as often as the doctor’s orders dictate, which is usually for a short period of time. In home care, the family and their needs decide the terms and frequency of visits, which can be as long- or short-term as they’d feel is necessary.
• Home health can be paid for by medical insurance because it is prescribed medical care. Home care is funded by private pay, long-term care insurance, and, in some circumstances, Veteran’s Association benefits.

Home Health
Home health care covers a wide range of medical services provided by skilled health professionals, typically prescribed by a physician as part of a health plan after hospitalization. Doctors often prescribe home health care because it is usually less expensive than a hospital stay, more convenient, and just as effective.
Home health is similar to a nurse visiting your hospital room periodically. They are present for specific medical objectives dictated by the doctor, and depart after the medical care is provided. The only difference is that the nurse, or other medical professional, is visiting your home, not your hospital room.

Examples of home health services include:
• Administration of medications, including injections
• Medical tests
• Intravenous or nutrition therapy
• Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status
• Physical and/or Occupational Therapy

When do you use home health?
Home health requires a doctor’s order in order to start care, however, there are many situations in which a doctor may recommend home health.
• To help a senior transition back to independence after an inpatient hospitalization, rehabilitation, or a stay at a skilled nursing facility
• To monitor the senior for side effects and effectiveness after a medication change
• To aid seniors in regaining their independence through therapy when experiencing an overall decline in functioning

Home Care (Such as For Papa’s Sake Home Care)
Home care is provided by caregivers or CNAs that are trained to understand the nuances of personal care/companionship. Caregivers can help older adults with activities of daily living, or just offer some companionship. Unlike home health, home care is classified as personal care, not medical care. The license of the home health agency will dictate if they are able to do any medically related functions, but typically, home care services don't have medical services covered until their license.

Home care is similar to the care that a loved one would provide for a loved one. Caregivers are present to aid in daily life, whether that be companionship, grocery store, preparing meals, and beyond. The only difference between loved ones and caregivers is that caregivers are trained in these areas and have experience in giving care.

Examples of home care services include:
• Meal preparation
• Light housekeeping
• Helping dressing, bathing, and grooming
• Transportation
• Reminders to take medicine
• Help with bill paying

When do you use home care?
You might consider hiring a home care provider:
• Need assistance with activities of daily living ranging from grooming to meal preparation
• Need transportation assistance for doctor’s appointments/errands
• Live alone, may be at risk for social isolation, or need companionship

Combining Services
Home health and home care are not mutually exclusive services. Many families find that their loved one most benefits from a combination of home health and home care services. For example, during recovery after a hospitalization, home health staff can be in the home to address clinical and rehabilitative needs, while a home care aide can help with personal caregiving and household chores that the senior requires assistance with.

Where is a local home health provider?
As a family-owned business, For Papa’s Sake seeks similar businesses that hold parallel values of customer service and client satisfaction. Our team has been impressed with MediLink’s home health team in providing superior care to our clients.

Check out MediLink’s services here: http://www.medilinkhomecare.com/homecare/patient_services/index.cfm


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