What is the difference between Home Care and Home Health? Sometimes the names are used interchangeably and that can be confusing but there are distinct differences. Basically Home Care is a non medical service and Home Health is a medically based service. So let's take a closer look:
Home Health is paid for by Medicare, you have to have a doctors prescription and it's for a limited period of time. In order to qualify there will be an assessment that will be done to determine your needs. Home Health is often prescribed when somebody is leaving the hospital or a rehab facility and they need some additional care at home. It is limited so you may only get a few visits a week. This service does not fulfill the role of a primary caregiver. Home Health care can send out physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, wound care specialists etc. to help you acclimate back to home life. For example if someone had a stroke and their speech was affected Home Health care can send a speech therapist to the person in need of help instead of that person going to a facility for rehabilitation.
Home Care can help with many of the day-to-day activities such as getting dressed, taking a shower, going to the grocery store, taking you to doctors appointments taking out the garbage and other little things around the house that may have become challenging. Home Care which is non medical and it is usually private pay so you pay out of your pocket. In some cases benefits like the veterans administration aid and attendance program or long term care insurance may help cover some of these costs.
While Home Health and Home Care are two very different services there could be instances in which you need both of them together at the same time. For instance, physical therapy following a hip surgery may limit your ability to keep up with regular household chores. In this case Home Health would be there for the physical therapy and Home Care will be there to help with the other everyday tasks. Friends, family and spouses can only do so much and often have obligations of their own aside from acting as a care giver. Bringing in a little help can relieve a great deal of stress for everyone involved.
Ty Strahl is the areas leading senior adviser. Her job is to help you navigate the many aspects of aging and to help seniors who are in transition to find the right solutions for their individual needs.