Home health care is clinical medical care provided by an registered nurse, occupational therapist, physical therapist or other skilled medical professionals, and is often prescribed as part of a care plan following a hospitalization.



Home health care services include:
• Therapy and skilled nursing services
• Administration of medications, including injections
• Medical tests
• Monitoring of health status
• Wound care

Some situations in which home health is prescribed include:
• Following an inpatient hospitalization, rehabilitation, or a stay at a skilled nursing facility – to help the patient transition back to   independence
• When a patient has had a recent medication change, in order to monitor for side effects and assure a new medication is effective
• When someone experience an overall decline in functioning – in order to help them to regain independence through therapy or learning new skills to compensate for their deficit

Home care is provided by caregivers, usually called Home Health Aides, who are trained to understand the nuances of senior care. Home Health Aides can help older adults with activities of daily living, or just offer some friendly companionship. Unlike Home Health, Home Care is classified as personal care or companion care and is considered “unskilled” or “non-clinical.”

You might consider hiring a home care aide for older adults who:
• Need assistance with activities of daily living ranging from grooming to meal preparation
• Do not drive and require transportation
• Live alone, may be at risk for social isolation and need companionship

Services provided by Home Health Aides may include:
• Meal preparation
• House cleaning
• Helping dressing, bathing and grooming
• Transportation
• Reminders to take medicine
• Help with bill paying

The charts below highlight some of the differences between home health and home care, both in terms of services provided and method of payment:

Services Typically Offered Home Health Home Care
Administers medications Yes No
Companionship No Yes
Formally monitors health status Yes No
Help with bathing, dress and grooming No Yes
Incontinence care No Yes
IV Therapy / Injections Yes No
Light House cleaning No Yes
Meal preparation or delivery No Yes
Pain management Yes No
Performs medical tests Yes No
Prescription medication management Yes No
Reminders to take medicine Yes Yes
Therapy towards rehabilitation Yes No
Toileting help No Yes
Transportation Yes Yes
Wound care Yes No


Payment Method Home Heath  Home Care
Covered by Medicare Yes No
Covered by Medicare or Medicaid Waiver Program Yes (details vary by state) Yes (details vary by state)
Private health insurance Yes No
Private pay Yes, but unusual Yes
Long-term care insurance No Yes (if specified in policy)

Home Health and Home Care are not mutually exclusive services. Many families find that utilizing these services in tandem best help a senior who, for example, is recovery after a hospitalization. The Home Health staff addresses clinical and rehabilitative needs during the transition home, while a Home Health Aides can help with personal care giving and minor household chores that the senior requires assistance with during his or her recovery.