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Understanding the Different Types of Home Care

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Understanding the Different Types of Home Care

Home care is a broad term that encompasses different types of services related to care. Because it can refer to different services, families searching for home care are uncertain about the differences between the services. This post defines each of the services under the home care umbrella and how they differ from one another.

What is Home Care?

The service most often referred to as home care is also known as non-medical home care. As the name implies, agencies that provide non-medical services offer personal care services. These services are provided by caregivers. Caregivers are non-medical providers who help seniors with tasks of daily living such as bathing, dressing, going to the bathroom, and so on.

Non-medical caregivers also serve in other roles, such as being a companion or a homemaker. Companion caregivers spend time with clients and do things with them like running errands, doing activities like gardening, or going for a walk. And they will assist with household tasks like feeding a pet.

Homemakers provide assistance with cleaning the home and doing light housework. This can include laundry, cleaning bathrooms and floors, meal prep, organization, and tidying.

Respite care also falls under home care services. This involves a caregiver who comes to the home to relieve another caregiver, commonly a family member, and allow them to take time away when they need to.

Home care agencies may choose to provide some of these services or all of them. They involve providing a personal service for a client in the home. Caregivers are non-skilled providers, which means they do not hold licenses to provide skilled medical care the way a nurse does. Some caregivers do have additional training as certified nursing assistants or home health aides. However, because home care is personal care, it is generally not covered by insurance like Medicare or other private carriers. The cost for care is paid directly by the client or their family.

Home Health Care

Home health care falls under home care services too. But unlike non-medical home care, home health agencies see patients in partnership with the patient’s doctor. In order for a patient to receive care at home from a nurse, therapist or, another service provider, the doctor must determine that medical care is necessary due to a medical condition.

Once this order is issued, a home care agency chosen by the patient will conduct an evaluation at home. The evaluation is used to create a care plan that will be signed by the doctor. Medical insurance like Medicare does cover home health care services. But the goal of home health care is to help a patient recover from an illness, injury, or hospitalization. This is why patients are given goals that they work towards meeting while they are receiving home health care.

Home health care is available to families if they want to pay directly. Some agencies may offer home care and home health care together. Others choose to only offer home health care. Services offered typically include skilled nursing, physical and speech therapy, and home health aides. Medical social workers are on staff in some agencies too.

What Type of Home Care is Right for You?

Knowing what type of care services you or your loved one may need is not always easy. Talk with your doctor and discuss what types of issues are happening at home. Most agencies that offer medical and non-medical home care are happy to recommend services based on the needs described to them. When you find the agency that fits your needs, the agency will schedule an evaluation to determine what type of services may be beneficial.

Vital Sign Home Care serves the Baltimore, MD area and offers home health care as well as personal care services. To find out more about the services we offer, reach out to us today!

Venus Ricks, RN CM/DN

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