Home Healthcare and Home Care—Is There a Difference?
Hospice-adjacent clinical disciplines such as palliative care and home health care are often lumped together. To make things trickier, even home healthcare and home care are two different things. It’s easy to get the two confused due to both the name and the fact that both types of care occur, naturally, at a patient’s home.
At Bridgeway we often refer to “home healthcare” as simply “home health” to avoid confusion
While their names are almost identical, the care itself is quite different. The services offered by each and the typical payment methods are the primary ways in which these two differ. We’ll discuss both below.
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Home Healthcare is clinical medical care provided by a skilled professional such as a registered nurse or physical therapist. Typical care includes such services as:
– Giving medication, including injections
– Medical tests and monitoring
– Wound care
– Disease management for illnesses such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc.
Home healthcare is usually recommended as part of a care plan after a hospital or rehab stay and helps the patient ease back into independence.
Home care, sometimes referred to as home support, is just that—supportive care. For someone having difficulty in physical functioning, this type of care helps with the day-to-day demands of life such as household work, transportation and meal preparation. Home care is classified as non-clinical, unskilled personal care but it can also be invaluable to helping patients regain their own independence and mobility.
Home healthcare is covered by the same methods that typically pay for other healthcare such as Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. Since regular home care does not contain any actual medical care it is covered in different ways.
Some options typically used for home support care include: long-term care insurance, Medicaid for qualified low-income seniors and private pay. VA insurance programs will often reimburse for home care as well.
It is important to remember that home healthcare and home support care are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes using both services at the same time are the best option for those recovering from a hospitalization. The home health team can tend to the clinical needs of the patient while the home care support team can help with the general personal and household needs.