Home Care and Home Health Care
Home care is often used interchangeably with home health care. However the terms really have different meanings. Home care services include such things as meal preparation and home maintenance services. Home health care refers to a system devised initially by government to reduce the length of hospital stays and to provide some medical and nursing services in the home.
The two fields have very different implications related to funding and to personnel types. The mixed usage of home care and home health care is a source of confusion which makes research in the area of home care services very difficult.
Limited payments for home healthcare services are allowed by Medicare and private insurance plans when prescribed by a physician. These services may include physical, occupational therapy, or speech pathology. People who are homebound can receive some services from Medicare approved programs. However, after a time the insurance may cut off funding for these services.
Long-term care insurance policies that provide coverage for home care under a very restrictive set of conditions are widely available. The policies have to be purchased like life insurance policies, years before they are needed. Payout often requires intermittent hospital stays or periods spent under nursing supervision in a nursing home. The policies often stipulate the kind of care, even that be it 24 hour care and that it be in a multi-bed facility. They are often cancelled for contractual reasons of various kinds.
If you are involved in home care, you provide a wide range of support services to keep clients comfortable and functional in their homes over the long term. In general these support services are not covered by medical insurance. The needs of your client will be a private matter between you, your company and the client.
Home care services are available for anyone who feels they need them. These services may be called “assisted living services” and are often part of a plan to maintain someone with special needs in his or her home.
Home care may not be less expensive than placement in an institutional setting, but full or part time home care can make a difference to the quality of life of someone in need.