What makes home health care different?

Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be provided in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care is often less expensive, more convenient, and as effective as care you receive in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF). The terms “home care” and “home health care” sound similar, but offer distinctly different services. Home care offers non-clinical help, such as meal preparation and companionship, while home health care is sometimes abbreviated as “home health care provides professional medical assistance.

Home health care is generally included in medical services, while home care involves daily personal assistance. While they can help with basic life tasks, they often provide more specialized medical care, such as bandaging a wound, administering vaccines, or monitoring vital signs. Because home care hours are often determined by need, your family's bill can vary greatly depending on the care your loved one needs. Many people make the transition to home health care after a hospital stay, rehabilitation center, or skilled nursing facility.

Usually, a doctor requests home medical care to help the patient recover from an important health event, such as a stroke or heart attack. Nursing care may include wound dressings, ostomy care, intravenous therapy, medication administration, monitoring the patient's general health, pain management, and other health support. Home health care may not be necessary for older people who age in place without significant medical concerns. Often, the best way to find a home health agency is to ask for recommendations from people who have used similar services, Yount says.

Some people begin receiving home health care after a deterioration in health or after receiving a diagnosis of a serious medical condition. The definition of home health care is medical services provided at home to treat a chronic health condition or to help you recover from illness, injury, or surgery. In addition to nurses, home health professionals may include physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, speech therapists, and doctors. Once home health care begins, the patient and provider work together to determine the appropriate days and times for visits.

If you're struggling with daily tasks or recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, ask your healthcare provider if home care or home care is an option for you. Whatever your specific needs, you're likely to be able to find a solution in the growing field of home care.

Michele Maslen
Michele Maslen

Caregiver forever, heart for seniors, loves music, dancing, and putting smiles on people's faces.