Home Assistance vs. Home Health Care: What’s the Difference?

When your loved one needs extra help at home, you may have questions about which agency to contact for service. An internet search may return results for a variety of home-care providers.

So what’s the difference? Generally speaking, home healthcare involves a licensed practitioner like a registered nurse or a physical therapist. Home assistance usually involves a home care aid who provides supportive care.

What is Home Health?

Home healthcare is usually necessary following surgery or after a stay in a hospital, rehab center or skilled nursing facility. A prescription from a doctor is required to start these services. Home healthcare providers may assist with things like IV medication infusions, monitoring vitals like blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels and physical, occupational or speech therapies. These providers can also help your loved one adjust to new medications and help you understand any side effects that arise.  

Health insurance or Medicare will usually pay for home healthcare. Your loved one may have a copayment, and the service will likely have an end date. Once the course of medication is completed or your loved one has regained his or her independence, the home healthcare provider’s services will cease.

What is Home Assistance?

Home assistance can be provided to anyone who needs a helping hand at home. A doctor’s prescription is not required. Home care aids can help with a variety of things, including:

  • Bathing,
  • Dressing,
  • Toileting,
  • Medication reminders,
  • Meal preparation,
  • Light housework,
  • Laundry,
  • Grocery shopping,
  • Transportation to doctors’ appointments, social outings, religious services, etc.,
  • Conversation and games,
  • Some errands.

These services may also be called private duty nursing or in-home care. Regardless of what you call it, anyone can access home assistance. Some people need it for only a short period of time. For example, if people who have had knee replacement surgery may need some help getting dressed and preparing meals during the healing process.

Others may need home assistance for a longer period of time. With the help of a support service, people with dementia or other cognitive impairments may be able to remain in their own homes instead of moving to an assisted living facility or nursing home. It’s also a great way to help a senior who needs some assistance, but whose family members don’t live nearby.

No prescription is required to receive personal care assistance, but insurance or Medicare don’t cover the associated costs. 

To learn more about how Connecticut In-Home Assistance services can help your family member stay safe and comfortable at home, please contact us at 866-464-9035 today!