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

They sound the same, but are different services

The words “home health care” and “home care” sound so similar, most people assume they’re the same thing. 

But they’re not the same and there are some important differences.

We explain what home health care is, what in-home care is, how they can be used together, and show the similarities and differences in a quick comparison chart.




Home health care is medical care

Home health care is skilled care from medical professionals and requires a written order from a doctor.

This type of care helps older adults recover at home from a serious health issue. 

It’s usually less expensive, more convenient, and as effective as care from a hospital or skilled nursing facility (nursing home).

Services typically include:

At-home physical, occupational, or speech therapy
Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status
Pain management
Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound
Intravenous (IV) or nutrition therapy


In-home care is non-medical care

In-home care services are non-medical and primarily help older adults with activities of daily living and personal care.

The main goal of home care is to keep someone safe and comfortable in their own home. 

Services typically include:

Help with personal grooming, like bathing or getting dressed
Medication reminders
Help with moving around, getting in and out of bed or the shower
Preparing meals
Light housekeeping like washing dishes, vacuuming, or doing laundry
Companionship and friendship




Home health care and in-home care often work together

There are many situations in which in-home care and home health providers work together to help an older adult. 

Someone recovering from a major health event usually needs support with everyday life as well as specialized therapy or nursing-level services to continue their recovery.

For example, here’s how home health and in-home care could work together:

Helping with medication

An in-home caregiver helps your older adult remember to take daily medications
A home health nurse can adjust or change medications as needed

Getting physical therapy

A physical therapist teaches your older adult do therapeutic exercises that will improve their health condition
An in-home caregiver is there to encourage them to do their physical therapy exercises every day, help keep them safe, watch for problems, and let the physical therapist know how the exercises are going


Quick comparison chart: Home health care vs In-home care

Home health care
In-home care

Companionship, meal prep, light housekeeping, help with personal grooming and hygiene

Help getting in and out of bed, help to and from the bathroom

Reminders to take medication

Must be prescribed by a doctor

Covered by Medicare (when prescribed)

Skilled nursing, wound care, injections, IVs, or pain management at home

Change or adjust medications as needed

At-home visits from a physical therapist, occupational therapist, or speech therapist


Recommended for you:

Affordable Home Care: 8 Ways to Lower Senior Care Costs
7 Steps for Hiring a Caregiver for In-Home Help
When They Say No: 8 Ways to Introduce In-Home Care for Seniors


By DailyCaring Editorial Team

The post Home Health Care vs Home Care: What’s the Difference? appeared first on DailyCaring.

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