What Is Home Health Care?

by Eric Corum

Helper Bees Home Care

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:

  • companionship
  • 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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2 Responses to “What Is Home Health Care?”

January 11, 2017 at 12:03 am, Derek Mcdoogle said:

In your article, you stated that if you are Medicare eligible then you will want one that is accredited by Medicare. When I visited my mom’s house for dinner last night she was having a lot of problems getting around her house. I wonder if there is a certain point when home health care is no longer an option.

April 10, 2017 at 5:52 pm, Chris Winters said:

Eric, I can see why you would want to consider home health care after recently being discharged from the hospital. My brother was recently discharged from the hospital. I definitely think that we should find find a home health care service that could help him to recover much faster.

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