As the primary caregiver for an elderly parent or relative, you have probably heard of home health care and home care and wondered if they are right for your loved one. You may be confused about the difference between the two. While both provide services to the elderly, there are some differences you should understand before pursuing services.
What is home health care?
A nurse, doctor or other medical professional who comes to the home of the client typically provides home health care. They provide services that require medical personnel, but do not require a hospital stay or admission to a nursing home. They may include the following:
- Nursing Services
- Physical, Speech or Occupational Therapy
- Pain and Medication Management
- Wound and Disease Care
- Psychiatric Care
Home health care is a workable solution for those who want to be a home, but who require continued medical services. Home health care workers may visit the home to care for the client while you work, or provide nighttime care so the family can rest.
What is a home care?
Trained individuals who are not medical professionals typically provide home care. They provide supportive services to the homebound client, but do not provide medical services. They make it possible for clients to remain at home and help them meet their daily living needs. Services may include:
- Assistance with Bathing, Dressing and other Self Care Activities
- Running Errands
- Household Tasks like Cleaning, Laundry and Meal Preparation
- Reminders to Take Medications
- Assistance with Hobbies and Leisure Activities
Home care workers may visit the home once a twice a week or may visit daily for several hours. The services of the home care worker are typically determined by the client, family and medical professionals to meet the specific needs of the client.
Can a person get both home health care and home care?
Yes. A client may choose to have health care services provided by medical personnel on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the need, and have a home care worker visit the home to provide supportive services. While the health care personnel determine medical needs, such as the timing and dosage of medication, the home care worker reminds the client to take them. Clients do not need to choose one over the other and can enjoy the benefits of both while remaining in their home. In fact, according to Home Instead Senior Care, most seniors will use both home health care and home care at some point in their lives. The services may be used at the same time or at different times.
Does Medicare and insurance cover the costs of both home health care and home care?
Under some circumstances, Medicare pays for both home health care and home care provided by an aide. Medicare covers the cost of home health care that a doctor has verified as necessary for the patient's health. It will also cover the services of a home care aide if the patient already qualifies for home health care, says Elder Law Practice of Timothy l. Takcas. If a patient does not meet the requirements for home health care under the Medicare guidelines, he cannot receive in home care services. However, many community organizations provide home care services that he may qualify for. Regulations vary among other insurances. Check the policy to find out what services are covered.
Home health care and in home care services provide elderly patients with the medical attention and support they need to remain in the home. This often gives patients a sense of control and alleviates the stress of a hospital stay or admission to a nursing home. It also allows them to live their lives with independence and enjoy the comforts of home.