What Is Home Health Care?
by Eric Corum
There is a lot of confusion around the terms used in long-term care. You hear names like: home health, personal assistance, in-home companion, in-home care, etc. What do they all mean? We thought we would get to the basics and answer some fundamental issues surrounding naming conventions.
Here is a brief guide to figuring out what exactly is senior home health and whether it will meet your needs.
The first question you want to ask is whether your in-home care needs are medically-related or if you need non-medical services.
Types of senior in-home care services that are medical:
- skilled nursing for issues such as wound or medication management
- physical therapy for rehabilitation or balance training
- occupational therapy for rehabilitation or balance training
- speech therapy for issues related to swallowing
Types of senior in-home care services that are non-medical:
- assistance with grooming, bathing, toileting
- light housekeeping
- errand running
Once you have decided on your needs you can select an in-home care provider we can figure out what to call it.
If you are looking for more medically related tasks then you want a home health agency. If you are Medicare eligible then you will want one that is accredited by Medicare. Here are some reasons you could use a medical home health agency:
- recent discharge from the hospital
- recent discharge from a rehabilitation hospital
- recent knee/hip/joint replacement
- difficulty with balance
- increased fall risk
- wound management
- psychiatric services
- and many others
For the non-medical aspect of home health it can be a little more confusing. These agencies go by several different names but they all mean the same thing. The way these agency works are that they have a small pool of staff that they send out to homes to assistance with typically lighter duty tasks. In later posts, we’ll talk about how to pay for senior in-home care. If you see these terms they all mean non-medical in-home care:
- home companion agency
- personal assistance services (PAS)
- in-home care aide
Hopefully, now that you know the proper terms to look for your search will become that much easier.
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