For aging and homebound individuals, home is the best place to remain as functional and independent as possible, with the highest degree of security, comfort, and dignity.
When individuals hear the words home care and home health, some mistakenly think the two are synonymous, however, home care and home health are distinct types of care. Home care is non-medical assistance emphasizing companionship while home health is a physician-ordered plan of care provided at home. Let’s explore the differences further.
Home care is non-medical supportive care. Caregivers provide assistance with the activities of daily living, such as preparing meals, running errands, light housekeeping, medication reminders, assisting with bathing and dressing, and providing transport to doctor appointments. The goal is to improve our client’s quality of life while ensuring safety in the home.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a new regulation allowing home care aides to be trained to do more tasks in the home setting. The additional tasks taken on are a decision made by each agency. Some of the added care that can be provided include pic tube care, ostomy care, and medication administration. Depending on how much care you need at home, it may be beneficial to find an agency that has embraced the training required to perform some of these additional tasks. Home care is typically paid by the individual receiving care or with long-term care insurance.
A physician orders home health services, typically after a hospital stay, an onset of a new diagnosis or an exacerbation of an existing illness. Each patient is different and receives a specialized plan of care that fits their individual needs. Home health care is a multi-disciplinary approach monitored and implemented by a team of medical professionals including nurses, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, social workers and CNAs. Medicare or the individual’s private insurance normally covers home health services.
If you or a loved one are diagnosed with a more serious illness you may want to find an agency that offers both palliative home health care and hospice care. Palliative care plans include specialized treatment along with comfort care and pain management. If the need to transition to hospice should arise, the patient may be able to have the same caregivers they’ve already come to know and trust.
This article was contributed by Wendy Shumaker, Asst. Director of Marketing for Homeland Hospice, HomeHealth and HomeCare.