Home Care vs. Home Health – What is the Difference?

Written by: Dan Weecks

Understanding the Differences Between Home Care and Home Health

When an aging parent or loved one needs assistance to continue living safely and comfortably at home, many families consider home care or home health services. However, the differences between these two types of care are often unclear, and resources for both types of services can vary greatly. This article will explain what home care and home health are, how they differ, and when each might be the right option for your family.

We have put together a simple guide to understanding the differences between home care and home health:

What is Home Care?

‘Home care’, or non-medical in-home care, refers to non-medical services and supports provided in the home setting. The goal of home care is to help seniors, adults with disabilities, and others live independently while ensuring their quality of life, safety, and well-being.

Home care services are non-medical in nature. They may include:

  • Companionship and conversation
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry and changing bed linens
  • Grocery shopping and errands
  • Transportation to appointments and activities
  • Medication reminders
  • Assistance with bathing, grooming, and dressing
  • Stand-by assistance and safety monitoring

The services offered will depend on each client’s needs and abilities. Home care helps the individual remain at home while getting needed assistance with daily activities. It does not include hands-on medical, nursing, or therapy services. Those requiring medical care in addition to assistance with daily living may need both home care, like Cypress HomeCare Solutions based in Scottsdale, and home health care (explained more below).

Home care services can be provided on an hourly or live-in basis. Hourly care offers flexibility, while live-in care ensures round-the-clock assistance for individuals who need extensive support. Home care can be short-term or long-term depending on the situation.

What is Home Health Care?

Home health care refers to skilled medical services provided at home. These services are ordered by a physician and intended to help the individual recover from an illness, injury, or surgery. Home health allows patients to receive clinical care outside of hospitals, nursing facilities, or outpatient settings and is often provided by private companies like Navi Nurses, which Cypress works with often.

Home health services must be delivered by licensed professionals and can include:

  • Wound care and bandage changes
  • Catheter and colostomy care
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Intravenous or nutrition therapy
  • Injections
  • Physical, occupational, speech, or respiratory therapy
  • Assistance with assistive devices
  • Teaching self-care skills
  • Monitoring health status

In addition to hands-on clinical care, home health professionals like nurses and physical therapists provide education to help patients manage their conditions. Medicare and many private insurances cover home health care with a doctor’s order. Services are time-limited depending on each patient’s needs.

Key Differences Between Home Care and Home Health

Now that we’ve explained home care and home health individually, what are some of the key ways they differ?

  • Home care consists of non-medical supportive services to assist with daily activities. Home health involves skilled nursing, therapy, and other clinical care.
  • Home care aids are typically not licensed professionals. Home health services must be provided by licensed nurses, therapists, social workers, etc.
  • Home care is a private service paid out-of-pocket or by long-term care insurance. Home health is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and many private health insurance plans with a doctor’s order.
  • Home care provides longer-term custodial assistance. Home health offers short-term care focused on treating an illness or injury.
  • The goal of home care is maintaining independence and quality of life. Home health aims to improve health and functioning or recover from an acute condition.
  • Home care offers services like housekeeping, transportation, meal prep, and companionship. Home health provides wound care, injections, therapy, and high-level clinical interventions.

As you can see, the focus of each type of care is quite different. However, home care and home health services often complement each other nicely.

Combining Home Care and Home Health

So what does all this mean for you and your loved ones?  For seniors or disabled adults with moderate to severe limitations in the Scottsdale or Phoenix areas, home care and home health together can maximize independence and quality of life.  Home health staff from Navi Nurses can provide clinical care and rehab therapy a few days a week. Home care assistants from Cypress can then help with daily tasks like dressing, bathing, meals, transportation, and household duties on the other days.

This combined support system allows the individual to remain at home and continue an active, engaged lifestyle to the greatest extent possible. It also reduces stress on family caregivers.

Seeking the Right Level of Care

Determining whether home care, home health, or both are appropriate depends on the individual circumstances. A doctor or hospital discharge planner can help recommend home health services if required after a medical event. To explore home care options, connecting with a reputable home care agency like Cypress HomeCare Solutions for a care consultation and needs assessment is recommended.

At Cypress HomeCare Solutions, our experienced care managers provide free in-home assessments. We take the time to understand your loved one’s unique needs, living environment, and personality. We then recommend customized solutions to keep them safe and comfortable in their home. Reach out today at 602-264-8009 to learn more about home care, home health, and how we can develop the right support plan for your family.

We’re here to help.

Call (602) 264-8009 or contact us to learn more about home care services.

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