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Home Care vs Home Health Care: The Difference

Total Senior was founded to help families find the most appropriate senior communities & care solutions for their elderly loved ones. With countless resources to navigate, finding the right care services can be quite a daunting task, but we’re here to help. Our reputation speaks for itself and we look forward to guiding many more families!

Do you have a loved one who needs services in order to continue living independently at home? If so, you may wonder if you should consider home care vs home health care. The two options are quite different, so it’s important to understand what each type of care offers.

Home Care vs Home Health Care

Home Care

Typically, home care is used when a senior can’t live at home independently due to advanced age or disability.  If the tasks of daily living have become too much for Dad to handle, this is a great option to consider. Home care services will help with many non-medical needs, allowing him to continue living at home safely.  Home care can assist Dad with activities such as bathing and grooming, dressing, mobility issues, meal preparation, and eating. They can also help remind him about prescriptions he takes and may even provide light housekeeping.

Home care is typically not covered by Medicare or private insurance, but long-term care insurance may help. With home care, you typically have the option of choosing 24-hour care or just a few hours of care here and there. You may have family members care for Dad during the day, but have a home care agency handle his nighttime care, for example. Even a few hours of home care can alleviate the stress of caregiving and let you focus on other areas of your life. Some home care agencies require a minimum number of hours in order to staff a caregiver or companion while others operate with no minimums.

Costs associated with home care vary as well. Due to high labor costs, liability insurance, worker’s compensation, background checks and other administrative costs associated with staffing caregivers in the State of California, licensed agencies typically charge between $19 and $25 per hour.

Home Health Care

Home health care is typically used after a senior is released from the hospital after a surgery or serious illness. Mom may be ready to move back home, yet still need skilled nursing care. If she has trouble getting to regular appointments, her physician may recommend home health care for a period of time.  Her physician and a medical team will work together to oversee this care. The team can arrange for any medical needs she may have. This includes wound care, rehabilitation services, prescribing and managing medications, and arranging for the services of physical and occupational therapists.

The home health care team is not staffed to assist with errands the way caregivers through home care agencies are. They can advise and arrange for medical tests and even IV’s if necessary.  Home health care is typically covered by Medicare, at least in part. Typically, a social worker at a hospital or skilled nursing facility will process a discharge with a doctor’s order for Home Health care.

The clearest way to differentiate between home care and home health is the skilled labor. Home care hires caregivers or companions that are first aid and CPR certified. Home Health care agencies staff skilled nurses of various levels, including CNA, LVN, and RN.

As you can see, whether you choose home care or home health care depends on your loved one’s specific needs. They may even benefit from both types of care. For example, a skilled nurse from a home health agency could administer physical therapy for your father after a stroke. At the same time, a home care staffed caregiver or companion could help assist him his with daily needs until he is back on his feet.

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