Homecare versus Home Health, What’s the Difference?

logo_color_jpg1.jpgMany people wonder what is the difference between Home Health and Home Care, and it’s easy to get the two confused. Even in the industry, the two terms are often interchanged- making it even more confusing!

Home Health is by definition, “Health care services provided in the home on a part-time basis for the treatment of an illness or injury, and covered by Medicare only if  skilled care is needed and required on an intermittent or part-time basis.”*Many people wonder what is the difference between Home Health and Home Care, and it’s easy to get the two confused. Even in the industry, the two terms are often interchanged- making it even more confusing!

Home Health is by definition, “Health care services provided in the home on a part-time basis for the treatment of an illness or injury, and covered by Medicare only if  skilled care is needed and required on an intermittent or part-time basis.”*

The big word here is skilled, because that is the main difference between home health and home care. Not that the care that a homecare caregiver provides doesn’t take skill- but by a medical definition, it isn’t considered a skilled service.

For example, Home Health offers

1. physical, occupational and speech therapy

2. treatment for balance problems that lead to fall risks

3. wound care

4. cardiac and pulmonary care

5. nursing

6. social services, patient education

Another big difference between Home health and Home care is that in order to receive Home health, and have it covered by Medicare, it must be determined that you are homebound. A physician must review the case every 60 days to evaluate.

Home Care, on the other hand, is available to anyone who wants to age in place and remain in their home for the duration of their life. It is usually private pay- and sometimes covered by long term care insurance.

Home Care services often include simple daily tasks that most people take for granted- but as we age, some of these essential daily tasks are much more difficult to do.

This includes personal care such as bathing, toileting and getting dressed. It also includes preparing meals, helping clients move throughout their homes safely and driving to appointments. Life enrichment is another service that homecare can provide. Going on outings, taking walks, playing games- any activity that brings joy and value to a client’s life.

Often, homecare and home health will work hand in hand to ensure that all aspects of the client’s needs are being met.

For more information on home health, check out Gentiva. They are a nationally recognized leader in Home Health services.

For more information on Home Care, please click here.

 *Bookman, A., Harrington, M., Pass, L., & Reisner, E.  (2007).  Family caregiver handbook: Finding elder care resources in Massachusetts.  Cambridge, MA:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  

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