Home Health Care vs Home Care: What Is the Difference?

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what is home health careThese two terms may sound very similar but provide entirely distinct services. Home health services refer to skilled care in the home setting. These services are often provided by a physical therapist, skilled nurse or other medical professional. Home care services include non-medical services provided within the home setting. These services often include companionship and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). These are both services provided at home but differ widely in the services provided.

What is home health care?

Home health care is skilled care provided by a licensed medical professional in the home setting. These services often include physical therapy, skilled nursing, occupational therapy, wound care and other health monitoring. This type of care is prescribed by a doctor and helps older adults recover at home from a medical setback or surgical procedure. 

Who is eligible for home health care?

Home health care benefits older adults aging in place with significant medical concerns. It is often prescribed to adults who require assistance with recent injuries, have been diagnosed with a chronic condition or are prone to falls. Many individuals are prescribed home health services after a surgery such as a hip or knee replacement. It can also be prescribed to adults who have recently been discharged from rehabilitation, a hospital or a skilled nursing facility. It is also beneficial for adults experiencing an overall decline in function that are looking to regain independence through physical or occupational therapy.

Who pays for home health care?

The home health benefit is included in most Medicare and commercial insurance plans. Home health care is usually less expensive than care provided in a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility. 

What is home care?what is home care

Home care provides non-medical services in the home setting. These services primarily help older adults with activities of daily living and personal care. Home care services often include:

  • Companionship
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Errands and grocery shopping
  • Medication oversight
  • Bathing and dressing
  • Incontinence assistance
  • Transportation services
  • 24/7 Live in care

Who is eligible for home care?

Home care can benefit seniors who are aging in place. There are a variety of needs that can make home care a good option for a loved one. A home care aide can assist with isolation and loneliness as well as more specialized assistance based on individual need.

Who pays for home care?

Most home care services offer private pay options and are charged by the hour. These costs are determined based on individual need and can vary based on the location and agency.  

Can home health care and home care services be combined?

Many families have found that the combination of home health care and home care can be beneficial for a loved one. The combination of these services provides a holistic approach to care and ensures that both the medical and non-medical needs of an individual are being met.


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