Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Home Health Care vs In-home Care: What's the Difference?

The CareLinx Team is pleased to introduce our readers to our first of many guest articles by DailyCaring. We invite you to visit their website and follow them on Facebook. This week's topic is:

Home Health Care vs In-home Care:
What's the Difference?

Two different services with similar names
When most people hear the words “home health care” and “in-home care,” they assume those services are the same. It turns out there are some important differences.

Home health care is medical care
Home health care is skilled care from medical professionals. Written orders from a doctor are needed to start home health care. This helps older adults recover at home from a health issue. It’s usually less expensive, more convenient, and as effective as care from a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF). Services can include:
  • Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound
  • At-home physical, occupational, or speech therapy
  • Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status
  • Intravenous (IV) or nutrition therapy
  • Pain management
  • Injections

In-home care is non-medical care
In-home care services are non-medical and primarily help older adults with the activities of daily living. The main goal is to keep them safe and comfortable in their own homes. Services can include:
  • Help with personal grooming, like bathing or getting dressed
  • Help with moving around, getting in and out of bed or the shower
  • Medication reminders
  • Help preparing meals
  • Help with household chores like vacuuming or doing laundry
  • Companionship and friendship

Home health care and in-home care can work together
Here are two examples where in-home care and home health care services can work together to help your older adult.

  • An in-home caregiver helps them remember to take daily medications.
  • A home health nurse can adjust or change medications as needed.

Physical therapy
  • A home health agency can work with the doctor to adjust physical therapy if it’s not working.
  • An in-home caregiver is there to encourage your older adult to do their physical therapy exercises, watch for problems, and let the physical therapist know how the exercises are going. 

Quick comparison chart: In-home care vs home health care

In-home Care
Home Health Care
Companionship, meal prep, light housekeeping, help with personal grooming and hygiene

Help getting in and out of bed, help to and from the bathroom
Reminders to take medication
Must be prescribed by a doctor
Covered by Medicare
Skilled nursing, wound care, injections, IVs, or pain management at home
Change or adjust medications as needed
At-home visits from a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist

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By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

Image: Frances Fox

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