Two different services with similar names
When most people hear the words “home health care” and “in-home care,” they assume those services are the same. It turns out there are some important differences.
Home health care is medical care
Home health care is skilled care from medical professionals and requires a written order from a doctor.
This type of care helps older adults recover at home from a serious health issue. It’s usually less expensive, more convenient, and as effective as care from a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF).
Services can include:
- Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound
- At-home physical, occupational, or speech therapy
- Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status
- Intravenous (IV) or nutrition therapy
- Pain management
In-home care is non-medical care
In-home care services are non-medical and primarily help older adults with the activities of daily living. The main goal is to keep them safe and comfortable in their own homes.
Services can include:
- Help with personal grooming, like bathing or getting dressed
- Help with moving around, getting in and out of bed or the shower
- Medication reminders
- Help preparing meals
- Help with household chores like vacuuming or doing laundry
- Companionship and friendship
Home health care and in-home care often work together
Here are two examples where in-home care and home health care services can work together to help your older adult.
- An in-home caregiver helps them remember to take daily medications.
- A home health nurse can adjust or change medications as needed.
- A home health agency can work with the doctor to adjust physical therapy if it’s not working.
- An in-home caregiver is there to encourage your older adult to do their physical therapy exercises, watch for problems, and let the physical therapist know how the exercises are going.
Quick comparison chart: Home health care vs In-home care
|Home health care||In-home care|
|Companionship, meal prep, light housekeeping, help with personal grooming and hygiene|
|Help getting in and out of bed, help to and from the bathroom|
|Reminders to take medication|
|Must be prescribed by a doctor|
|Covered by Medicare|
|Skilled nursing, wound care, injections, IVs, or pain management at home|
|Change or adjust medications as needed|
|At-home visits from a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist|
By DailyCaring Editorial Team
Image: Frances Fox