Knowing The Difference Between Home Health And Home Care Services


When you consider the home health care services you will find that most of them are employed as FTEs in-home care aides or as RNs. However, what you will not know is that there is a significant difference between home health and home care services.

To start with you should know that within the period of 1993 and 2008, the employment in-home care has grown at an average 5.4% annually. If you want the figure then that will come to 510,000 to 961,400 within this period.

However, home care and home health are two distinct types of care services that are essentially provided in a home setting. Since both these terms are used interchangeably there is a lot of chance that you will be confused and even not aware of the differences between these two terms.

The main difference

The main difference between these two terms is in the terms“home care” which is a non-clinical care and “home health” which essentially is clinical care.

There is also another difference in the terms home care and home health care Philadelphia and that lies in the appropriateness of care. When you consider home care only it will involve:

  • A cost-effective service that is provided to individuals who are recuperating from a hospital stay for any kind of ailments
  • It is also for those patients who are unable to take care of themselves due to any type of cognitive or functional disability and
  • It is that which supplements and reinforces care that is provided by the family members and friends that helps the recipient to maintain dignity and independence.

Ideally, the patients who receive home care services are typically less likely to be readmitted to any hospital for further care. Read about Meds News

The challenges in both

There are a few challenges to overcome in both home care and home health care that you need to understand as well.

  • If you look at the previous records of the industry you will see that in 2011 this industry faced a specific challenge when Medicare beneficiaries were required to see a certain doctor at least 90 days before or 30 days after the start of any type of home health care services so that the home health agency can claim for reimbursement for their services.
  • On the other hand, if you consider the old law then you will see that the doctor is required to prescribe home health care for those patients but they did not have to see the patient themselves to make such a determination.
  • And when you consider the new rule of home health care the doctors are now required to fill out a specific form that will certify that they, or any other health care provider such as a nurse or a new practitioner for that matter has attended or seen the patient for a specific purpose in order to determine the need of the patient for home care.

All these are in addition to the current duties of the doctors that include prescribing home health care as well as signing for any specific care plan that may be characteristically developed by any specific home health agency.

Understanding the two services

Therefore, home health care can be considered as those clinical medical cares that are provided by any registered and skilled medical professional or a nurse or any occupational or physical therapist. This is more often than not prescribed as a part of a care plan following the hospitalization of the patient.

On the other hand, home health services are those that include:

  • Therapy and skilled nursing services
  • Monitoring of health status
  • Medical tests
  • Wound care and
  • Administration of medications including injections.

Now, when you are in a situation when you have to choose between the two services you will need to keep in mind a few points. The specific situations when you will need to choose home health include:

  • After any inpatient hospitalization or rehab
  • After any stay at a skilful nursing facility
  • To help the patient or the senior citizen in their transition back to independence
  • When any senior has undergone any recent medication change
  • In order to monitor any side effects of any change in medication and
  • To make sure that a new medication is as effective as desired.

Especially when any senior, ailing or not, experiences an overall failure in their functioning home health is prescribed so that it helps them to regain independence with the use of the different specialized therapy or new learning skills. All these will help them to compensate for the deficit in them.

Paying for home health care services

Paying for home health care is much easier as it is considered as medical care and therefore falls under the coverage of medical insurance and that includes Medicare and Medicaid, especially when it is prescribed by a physician. However, the patient has to qualify to avail Medicaid.

Sometimes a senior patient may not be prescribed for a home health care but may still need for such services. In such situations, payments must be made privately, though these are extremely rare cases.

About home care services

Home care, on the other hand, is a specific service that is provided by the caregivers who are normally called the home care aides. They are specifically trained to provide such services by understanding the nuances of senior care. These home care aides typically help older adults with several daily activities for living. In addition to that, they may also offer friendly companionship.

That means, unlike home health, the home care services are classified as personal or companion care more than any skilled or clinical care. The times when you need to choose home care services are:

  • When the older citizens need assistance with daily activities that may involve grooming, bathing and even preparation of meals
  • When there is no need for any transportation or driving and the
  • Senior lives alone due to social isolation and requires companionship.

When it comes to paying for home care, you can do so through private pay, Medicaid if the patient qualifies and through long term care insurance