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How Home Health and Home Care Can Work Together

Caregiver holding Seniors hand

Falls are the number one reason seniors lose their independence. When a senior falls, they are at risk of a life-changing injury. When this happens, you might need home health services to help with medical care—but you may also have heard about “home care.” 

Home health and home care services are both useful for seniors recovering from an injury or illness. However, depending on your family member’s situation, you may need either one or both. It’s important to understand what each offers so you can access the right care for your family. 

And while home health and home care are two distinct services, they also work well together. In this article, you’ll learn about the ins and outs of home health versus home care and how you might choose to combine the two services, if that’s what your family needs.

What Is Home Health?

Home health care is when a medical professional provides medical assistance in the comfort of your home. A home health caregiver has many responsibilities, including:

  • Nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Social work
  • IV therapy/injections
  • Medical tests
  • Wound care
  • Pain management

During their time in your loved one’s home, the home health worker fulfills the patient’s doctor’s orders. For example, when you bring a family member home from the hospital, a nurse or other health care provider will tell you what type of home treatment they will require and for how long.  

Home health workers will visit a patient’s home a few times a week and make sure these guidelines are followed. However, in most cases, they’ll stay for about an hour or so. Since their job solely focuses on medical care, these caregivers do not help with household responsibilities or companionship, so their visits are focused and relatively short.

Home health services are an option for patients who are healthy enough to leave the hospital after surgery or an illness but still need medical assistance during their time at home. You must find out if your loved one qualifies for home health care before leaving the hospital.

The goal of home health aides is to help the patient fully recover from their injury or illness so that they can be back to living independently. In this sense, home health aides assist more than just the elderly or aging adults—they can also be of great help to individuals simply recovering post-op who need outpatient care.

What Is Home Care?

Because of “home” and “care,” home health care is often confused with home care—however, the two are quite different. Home care employees’ responsibilities and services fall under household care and a home caregiver might help with the following:

Caregiver handing senior a glass of water

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One of the main differences between home health and home care is that a home care worker can stay in a patient’s home for 24 hours at a time, if necessary. Of course, individuals often do resort to this extended and deeper level of care when recovering from an injury or illness.

However, people who rely on home care don’t need to be injured to benefit from these non-medical support and care services. If your senior cannot complete specific tasks on their own anymore, like making the bed or showering, a home caregiver can assist them in these tasks. These tasks are known as “ADLs,” or “assisted daily living tasks”, and they’re just as important as post-operative care.

The goal for the home care worker is to help their patient continue to live independently as much as possible.

Their sole focus is to help the patient complete in-home tasks, whereas a home health caregiver focuses on the medicinal side of care.

Also, it’s important to note that home care workers are not medical professionals. They are not licensed nurses or therapists, so they only offer non-medical care. If you require nursing care or treatment for a medical condition, you’ll need home health care in addition to home care. However, home care workers can help with disease-specific care, such as looking after seniors with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and more. 

How to Use Both Services for Comprehensive Care at Home

For those who need help with personal support and medical administration at home, a combination of home health and home care can help your loved one receive end-to-end care. Both services help people retain their independence, recover faster, and age in-home gracefully. It’s also the right course of action if your loved one wants to avoid going to a nursing care facility.

If you decide to create a care plan that includes both home care and home health care, here’s what to consider:

Take Advantage of Medical and Daily Living Assistance to Maximize Care

Home health and home care professionals complete different jobs for your loved one. Understanding the differences between the two will help you get the most value out of these services and save you money and frustration.

When you hire a home health worker to assist your family member, you can expect skilled nursing services. A home health aide can monitor vitals, administer medication, and provide physical therapy. This individual will work with your family member a few times a week to monitor progress as they recover.

Caregiver talk to Senior

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When you hire a home care worker to assist your family member, you can expect them to help around the home. This individual’s main job is to help with everyday tasks that your loved one can no longer complete on their own. A senior’s inability to complete a task can be due to age, illness, or injury.

When you hire both, you are receiving two different kinds of services. But each service complements the other. Since the home health worker cannot be in your home every day, the home care worker can assist your family member by reminding them to take their medications and preparing healthy meals. 

And since home care workers are not medically licensed to provide healthcare or medication administration, home health care aides will handle this aspect of your loved one’s care. 

Consider Your Payment Options When Exploring Home Health and Home Care

Since medical professionals conduct home health checks and deal with different practices, private insurance plans are required for home health care. One of the challenges of home health is that the patient must qualify for the service to receive it. 

In contrast, home care does not require eligibility. Home care is available to anyone who needs assistance. However, the vast majority of patients pay for home care out of pocket. There is no time limit on how long the patient or patient’s family can receive home care services. 

One of the best ways to balance each option for your family member in need is to create a care plan that carefully maps out when home health care starts and ends, and where those funds are coming from. You can then decide whether home care will need to be reduced or increased while home health care professionals are around, and when to resume “regular” hours after successful post-op healing or illness recovery.

Home care has its place even when home health care aides are around. For example, your loved one may need transportation services for a hospital or clinic check-up after a surgery. Or they may be physically limited post-op and require help with bathing, cleaning, and cooking. Since it’s not within the purview of home health care workers to offer this level of care, home care workers can provide everyday assistance instead.

When you use both, you can count on compassionate caregiving to ensure your family member has everything they need for daily living, as well as professional medical care.

Conclusion

Depending on your family member or loved one’s needs, it can be a good idea to combine home health and home care services for a seamless and comprehensive at-home experience. With home health and home care, you can provide your family member with the necessary medical attention while also providing adequate housekeeping and companionship to help them get the most out of each day.

With home care services from 24 Hour Home Care, you can rest assured that your senior is well taken care of. In collaboration with families, we help create a care or assistance plan that works for your schedule and goals. We match our seniors with the best caregiver for their needs and provide flexible home care services around the clock. Contact us today to learn more or speak to a representative for a free consultation.

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