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of North East Chicago

What Are the Differences Between Home Care and Home Health?

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So you’ve come to the conclusion that you need help at home, wherever home is. A decision to pursue care at home can follow a recent health event, expected or unexpected, or can arise because a family is at a point where managing the care of a loved one has become unmanageable. Attempting to understand what kind of agency covers what, where and when can be difficult. Care in the home falls into two categories: non-medical and medical. Home care covers non-medical needs, and home health covers medical needs. There are so many factors that can influence your loved one’s care needs; once these factors are understood, it becomes far easier to select the proper care approach.

The two predominant terms you will hear when speaking with health professionals are home care and home health. While they sound very similar, there is a very clear line between both from a service and cost standpoint. We will break-out both services from level of care and cost viewpoints.

Home Care

Home care is the least expensive option mainly because it does not include medical services. Most care in the home does not require medical, so it becomes a very cost-effective way to help a loved one who may have suffered a stroke and needs transfer assistance, an Alzheimer’s patient who needs a trained caregiver to prevent wandering, or any person requiring companionship or assistance with activities of daily living.

The care is provided by a licensed caregiver who meets state licensing requirements and may have other certifications, such as Home Health Aide, Certified Nursing Assistant, Memory Care, CPR and/or First Aid.

The care is provided wherever a person is living, even if for the short term: at home, in an assisted/independent living facility or a hospital or rehab room.

Paying for home care can be covered by Long Term Care Insurance, Veteran’s Benefits or private pay.

The list of care services provided is quite extensive and is customized to the client.

Companionship                          Social Activities      

Medication Reminders               Wake-up/Bedtime         

Meal Planning/Prep                   Light Cleaning                 

Laundry                                       Appointments                  

Shopping/Errands                      Bathing/Shower

Dressing                                     Transfer Assist

Personal Hygiene                       Incontinence

Catheter/Colostomy Daily

SYNERGY HomeCare Detailed List of Non-Medical Services

Home Health

Generally, home health is activated following an event such as orthopedic surgery, which requires Physical Therapy or major surgery or an accident where ongoing wound care, injections, medicine administration, monitoring, and therapy are required. There are too many events to list them all. This level of care can be very costly, especially if the care is continuing or extensive. To alleviate the cost burden, most care is administered under Medicare or health insurance.

The care is provided wherever a person is living: at home or in an assisted/independent living facility. Because this care is most always part of a doctor’s directive it is only classified as home health after the person leaves the hospital.

The care is provided by a Registered Nurse, Occupational Therapist or other skilled medical professional.

The list of care services provided is quite extensive and is customized to the client.

Therapy                                       Skilled Nursing                

Monitoring                                   Medical Tests

Injections                                    Medicine Administration

Wound Care                                Catheter Maintenance 

Colostomy Maintenance            

The two types of home care listed above are not mutually exclusive, in fact, most health events that require a hospital or rehab stay will generally require both home health and home care services. This is because Medicare and health insurance have rigid lines for coverage. If the care is non-medical, it is generally not covered. This is where home care plays a vital role. It ensures your loved one gets the vital support that mitigates the risk of anything less than a full recovery. Home care can minimize the risk of a fall by helping a client in/out of the shower and can assist with light housekeeping, laundry, meal prep or to relieve some of a family’s perceived responsibility with transportation to doctor’s appointments or other errands. Doctors often highly recommend utilizing home care in conjunction with home health to ensure care plan success.

Finally, it is very common for families to try to do too much themselves, thereby compromising the very care that is so important to a loved one. It also places undue burden on the family caregiver(s) and typically results in other problems. This often occurs because a family feels as though no one can provide care that is equivalent to theirs, in addition to cost. The most effective strategy is a balanced approach. An effective care plan leverages many resources to cover all the bases, proper care and support, cost and everyone remaining positive and healthy. SYNERGY HomeCare, the experts in home health in Chicago and surrounding areas,  can help families that are interested in building a care plan that works for everyone. Please call us today to schedule a free consultation, 773-868-3183 or read more about our services here.