The Differences Between Home Care and Home Health

Making decisions regarding the care of your loved one can be burdensome and takes time and deliberation. At Senior Industry Services, our goal is to help you with every aspect of your journey, whether as a senior, a loved one of a senior, or a senior caregiver. We aim to make Central Texas the best place for seniors to age, and in achieving this goal, we provide a variety of resources to you. Ranging from educational topics such as Alzheimer’s and ADLs to engaging topics like fun things for seniors to do during summertime in central Texas. Whatever you may need, we hope to be your go-to resource for valuable information and connections. 

When diving into the world of senior care, you will probably become overwhelmed quite quickly. There’s a whole new world of terms and information to be learned. Two of those terms you might see pop up are Home Care and Home Health. These are two different services provided to seniors, and they differ based on the level and type of care needed for the individual. It can be confusing to separate the two since they are similar, so today we’ll be breaking down the differences between them to help give you a better understanding of what to look for and what type of care you or your loved one might need.

What is Home Care?

This level of care is designed to be completed in one’s home to help maintain their quality of life by keeping them safe and ensuring their basic needs are being met. This care is done in the comfort of the patient’s home and is often used by those who do not want to go to a nursing home or assisted living. Depending on the patient’s needs, the level of care needed can vary; thus, home care could vary from a couple of days a week to full-time and can be adjusted as one’s needs change over time. Home care is defined as non-medical services provided in the home, and it is considered personal care. This care can be useful for those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery as well.

Home Care entails:

  • grooming
  • bathing
  • dressing
  • medication reminders
  • meal prep
  • help with chores
  • companionship

What is Home Health Care?

This level of care is typically used for patients who require more intense treatment and care. This care is used when someone suffers a serious injury, such as a fall, a major surgery, or a serious illness that needs extended treatment. The patient receives the same quality of care as in a hospital or nursing facility, but at a lower cost and in the comfort of their own homes. This isn’t normally a permanent level of care; rather, it is used until the patient improves enough to regain their former level of independence. Once a patient is stable, they can return to their everyday routine. 

Home Health Care entails: 

  • skilled nursing
  • physical therapy
  • pain management
  • medication management
  • wound care
  • rehab recovery

The Differences Between Home Care and Home Health

Home Care: 

  • non-medical services by a professional caregiver
  • personal care
  • can be long-term
  • assists with ADLs (activities of daily living)

Home Health Care:

  • medical service provided by a licensed healthcare professional
  • more serious conditions
  • typically covered by Medicare and Medicaid
  • typically short-term

We hope this helped to demystify home care and home health care. Knowing the differences between the two will help alleviate confusion and stress when seeking care for yourself or a loved one. Be sure to do adequate research and talk with your doctor about what choice is best for you or your loved one’s needs.

Written for Senior Industry Services by Lauren Hope Bartling