Home health and home care are two very different kinds of services provided to seniors that wish to maintain an achievable level of independence but who may not be able to do everything they were once capable of.
Home Health Care
Home health care is medical care administered in a client’s home that is provided by a registered nurse, therapist, or some other medical professional as part of plan of care following a stay at a hospital or other medical facility.
Home health normally covers services that include:
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Administering Medications and injections
- Caring for wounds, bandages, and dressings
- Monitoring ongoing health, wellness, and recovery
Home health is usually suggested when a patient has been declining in their ability to function independently to help regain the required mobility, when there has been a change in medication that must be monitored, or when rehabilitation is needed following hospitalization or some other transition from a skilled nursing facility.
Home health care is normally covered by a patient’s medical insurance including Medicare and Medicaid. In rare cases that the coverage was requested by the patient instead as of as a part of an ongoing plan of care, the patient may choose to pay privately out-of-pocket.
In-home care is not normally administered by medical professionals but by caregivers or aides who are trained to understand the nuances of senior care. This means that caregivers are considered to be“non-medical” ” or “non-clinical”. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t good at providing support, help, or companionship. It simply means that they are not qualified to administer direct medical care, such as medications.
In-home care normally covers services that support the client in the Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). These services often include things like:
- Medication Reminders (but not administering the medication)
- House Cleaning
- Meal Preparation
- Assisting in the Payment of Bills
- Transportation and Errand Running
- Help in dressing, bathing, and hygiene
In-home care is usually a good idea for senior clients who still maintain a great deal of independence, want to remain home, but simply don’t have the energy, mobility, or dexterity to keep up with their home or lifestyle as when younger. In-home care is a great option for those whose loved ones and family might live more than 30 minutes away and are not able to check in regularly or provide timely assistance in an emergency. And while it’s often overlooked and undervalued, in-home care is a great option for seniors who feel lonely, forgotten and long for some companionship.
Combining Services and Working Together for Best Plan of Care
In-home care and home health do not have to operate on an island. In fact, the best possible scenario in many cases is for these two lines of care to work in conjunction with each other to provide the best possible quality of life for the client.
In these cases, home health takes care of all of the medical needs and the caregiver is able to focus on the emotional, relational, and daily living needs of the client. When this is an option, clients can focus on getting better rather than struggling to juggle their recovery with the demands of housework, meals, and other day-to-day activities that could induce stress during a transition back into the home.