The terms home health and home care are used interchangeably quite often within the healthcare community, but it’s important to understand the difference when tasked with choosing the right plan of care.
While the terms share some similarities and both refer to services administered in the home, yet only home health can provide patients with clinical and skilled nursing services.
Home health must be ordered by a physician and includes services like:
1. Physical therapy
2. Speech therapy
3. Occupational therapy
4. IV/ injection medication
5. Wound care/wound dressing
6. Feeding tubes
7. Medical observation or frequent testing
Physicians use home health to prevent hospitalization or re-hospitalization and to keep the patient comfortable at home as long as possible. A full round of therapy can be completed at home with the help of a licensed therapist and a specialized program. Other scenarios that would warrant home health services is after a discharge from an in-patient rehab or skilled facility. This type of treatment, since ordered by a physician, typically requires no out-of-pocket cost to the patient and is covered in-full by Medicare, Medicaid and most insurance plans.
Home care can also be referred to as a personal care. The purpose of home care is to offer assistance with daily living tasks or even simply companionship to our growing elderly population. Home care is intended to benefit those senior citizens who most likely live alone, can no longer drive, or might need a little help with things like bathing, grooming or meal prep.
This type of care does not require a doctor’s referral, and frequency and duration of visitation is left up to the patient’s specific wants and needs. Since there is no skilled nursing or treatment provided during these visits, most home care is NOT covered by insurance and must be paid out-of-pocket. Although, there are certain supplemental insurance policies available that are specifically for helping with the cost of personal home care.
You will find both home health and home care providers and aides in an assisted living or independent living facility, depending on the resident’s needs or the level of care available at that particular establishment. Not all facilities have the need for a full-time nurse to be on duty at all times, or enough staff to offer the residents one-on-one assistance. Therefore, home care or home health services would be fitting for those residents with more time consuming or specific needs.
It is also possible to use both concurrently. The duration of home health services typically ranges from a few weeks to a few months, unless the patient is suffering from a chronic illness. Home care is a service that can be utilized for years or for the remainder of the patient’s life.
For more information on whether you qualify for home health services, give us a call to speak with any of our experienced nursing staff.
TEL: 1-(800) 276-7500 or (276) 628-2666