Home care and home health exist to serve seniors in difficulty. Perhaps they have suffered a fall or are struggling to live independently. Regardless, when a loved one needs help, it is important you understand the services available to them. There are significant differences between home care vs. home health that determine which is right for your family member.
Home care assists older adults with the Activities of Daily Living. These are basic tasks required for a person to be self-sufficient, such as:
- Taking Medication
- Making Calls or Sending Email
Over time, physical, cognitive, and medical issues can make it hard or even impossible for people to perform some or all these activities on their own. Caring for someone in this condition can be a full-time job, even if they can look after themselves to a limited extent. Caregivers ease the burden, helping seniors live freely as possible at home while also ensuring their comfort and safety.
Value of Caregivers
For families, caregivers provide peace of mind. Knowing their family member is being watched over frees them to focus on other responsibilities, such as career or children.
But employing a caregiver has other advantages. Though they do not have any medical training, they still play a critical role in senior health. Because they work closely with patients, caregivers are in an excellent position to observe and report any new symptoms or developments. For instance, caregivers are usually the first to notice when their patients are having trouble getting out of bed or walking to the shower. They pass these concerns to our nurses, who then respond and address the issue before it grows worse.
In case of an accident, caregivers provide first aid until emergency help arrives. In serious cases, this might require an ambulance, but often a home nurse can be dispatched to examine the patient instead.
Benefits of Home Care vs. Home Health
While nurses and therapists are only permitted to work with patients a few hours a week, there are no limits on caregivers. If the patient wants, caregivers can help every day. Such attention has enormous benefits. It enables patients to continue performing their favorite activities, so they remain in control of daily life and enjoy a greater degree of independence than they would on their own.
For people recovering from an injury or illness, having a professional caregiver with them has a huge impact on their outcome. Humans are social creatures. We crave companionship and connection, which is why caregivers are such a motivating factor. Because in-home medical providers only visit a few times a week, patients must make most progress on their own. Having someone by their side, assisting them, encouraging them, and holding them accountable helps them stick to their care plan. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that patients with a reliable caregiver make the biggest strides towards recovery.
Home health provides medical care to people who have suffered an injury or been diagnosed with a serious illness. Unlike home care, home health is administered by licensed professionals such as Registered Nurses (RN), Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN), or physical and occupational therapists. It is normally given to patients after they have undergone surgery or been discharged from a hospital or skilled nursing facility. In-home care is designed to reduce strain on patients, allowing them to regain their strength with as much convenience and comfort as possible. Services offered might include:
- Physical Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- IV Therapy
- Wound Care
- Pain Management
- Chronic Disease Management (E.g., Diabetes, High-Blood Pressure)
- Nutritional Counseling
- Fall Prevention Exercises
Home health provides patients with a personalized care regimen based around their individual needs. It is especially beneficial for elderly patients who have trouble going to and from the doctor’s office. In addition, working with patients at home allows medical providers to identify potential hazards and helps them address specific challenges patients face day-to-day. For example, patients who require mobility devices, such as a wheelchair or walker, have a chance to work with skilled professionals who can teach them how to deal with obstacles they face every day, like tight corners or a narrow staircase. In most cases, such intimate care helps them progress faster than they would in a clinical setting.
Eligibility: Home Care vs. Home Health
When considering home care vs. home health, keep in mind that coverage for each service differs considerably. Home health is only given when prescribed by a doctor, which means Medicare and insurance companies will pay for it. However, though a few long-term policies include home care, most times it must be paid out of pocket.
Continuity of Care
The choice between home care vs. home health depends on the patient’s circumstances. Each service occupies a different rung along the continuity of care. Home health provides skilled medical treatment aimed at restoring health, while home care helps patients continue moving forward with their treatment plan while ensuring high quality of life.
Lewis Jackson writes about technology and healthcare. His work provides practical insight into modern medicine and healthy living.