What’s the Difference Between Home Care and Home Health Care (Home Nursing)?

Searching for in-home health care for you or a loved one can be an overwhelming process if you are not familiar with the different types of care that exist. There is home care and home health care (also called home nursing). People often confuse these two terms as they are similar to each other, and are sometimes used interchangeably by some agencies. However, they both have several differences that set them apart from each other. Below, we put together a guide talking about the similarities and differences between the two types of in-home care. Knowing the difference between the two is important as it can help you decide which type of care is right for you or your loved ones. 

What is Home Care? 

Home care is also called non-medical home care, and it is a type of supportive care provided by home care aides that does not involve medical skills. They come into the home and assist patients with personal care needs. Some of the services provided by home care aides may include activities of daily living (ADL), housekeeping, transportation, helping with household chores, cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, bathing, toileting, dressing, walking pets, and social interaction. This type of care is common amongst people who are recovering from surgery or older adults who are chronically ill or disabled. Medicaid or long-term insurance will not always cover the cost of home care because it is considered personal care, so individuals or families who need a caregiver must pay out of pocket for any services they receive. 

What is Home Health Care (Home Nursing)?

Home health care is also called home nursing, and it is prescribed medical care that is ordered by a doctor. Medically trained individuals, such as doctors, nurses, therapists and home health aides go to a patient’s home to provide medical services and help them recover. They help treat chronic 

conditions and they help patients who are recovering from any surgeries, illnesses, or injuries. It is very common that after people are diagnosed with a serious medical condition or they just got out of the hospital, they will receive home health care services for a period of time to help them recover and be as independent as possible in the comfort of their own home. If home health care services are ordered by a doctor, then most likely, Medicare or Medicaid will cover the cost of the services, if the patient is eligible. 

Some of the services provided by home health care include the following: wound care, injections, pain management, IVs, physical therapy, nursing, social work, occupational therapy, bathing, dressing, grooming, speech therapy, etc. 

What are the similarities between home care and home health care? 

Although home care and home health care have many differences, they are also similar in a lot of ways. One of the similarities between the two types of care is that they both share the same goal of keeping patients safe in the comfort of their own homes. The care is provided in the home of the patient, and they are there to help them navigate their daily tasks in a smooth manner. Whether they need reminders to take their medications, help with walking their pets, dressing, grooming, or bathing, the service will be catered to their needs. Oftentimes, both types of care are delaying hospitalization for the patient or the need to be taken to a nursing home.

What are the differences between home care and home health care? 

One of the main differences between home care and home health care is the fact that home care services provide “non-clinical” or “non-skilled” caregivers, and home health care services provide “clinical” or “skilled care” by therapists or licensed nurses. Home care is provided at home, while home health care can be provided at home or in assisted living facilities. Additionally, home health care is more medical based while home care aides do not provide direct medical care, but they help patients navigate their everyday lives. Due to the fact that there are no eligibility requirements for home care, people normally pay for this service out of pocket. Home health is covered if it’s ordered by a doctor and the patient is eligible. It will continue as long as the doctor orders it, the patient needs it, and it’s in their budget. It is possible that patients can receive both types of care simultaneously, but most times, they only choose to receive one type of care. In terms of frequency of the care, home care aides can help patients as much as they need it, some may even choose to get help 24/7 if it’s in their budget and they need it. Home health care visits are normally a few hours per week for most patients. 

Both home care and home health care provide patients with the ability to recover and to be as independent as possible in their homes. Caregivers and nurses can help patients after being diagnosed with a serious condition, recovering after surgery, or helping with day-to-day household tasks, such as walking pets, grooming, laundry, bathing, cleaning, etc. Each patient has different personal needs, so the type of care that they choose will depend on their personal circumstances and budget.

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