Home care and home health are distinct types of care which are both provided in a home setting, but most people aren’t aware of the differences and use these terms interchangeably. The key difference is that “home care” is non-clinical care and “home health” is clinical care.
Home health care is clinical medical care provided by an registered nurse, occupational therapist, physical therapist or other skilled medical professionals, and is often prescribed as part of a care plan following a hospitalization.
Home health care services include:
Situations in which home health is prescribed include:
Since it is considered medical care, home health is covered by medical insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.
Home care is provided by caregivers, usually called home care aides, who are trained to understand the nuances of senior care. Home care aides can help older adults with activities of daily living, or just offer some friendly companionship. Unlike home health, home care is classified as personal care or companion care and is considered “unskilled” or “non-clinical.”
You might consider hiring a home care aide for older adults who:
Services provided by home care aides may include:
The charts below highlight some of the differences between home health and home care, both in terms of services provided and method of payment:
Home health and home care are not mutually exclusive services. Many families find that utilizing these services in tandem best help a senior who, for example, is recovery after a hospitalization. The home health staff address clinical and rehabilitative needs during the transition home, while a home care aide can help with personal caregiving and household chores that the senior requires assistance with during his or her recovery.