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

Posted by Bridgett Skelton on January 21 2020 | 2 minute read

Home Care vs. Home Health What’s the Difference?_CaraVita Home Care

When beginning the caregiving journey with their loved one, families are often bombarded with several healthcare acronyms and services they are told they may need. It can be challenging to figure out which services you should start first and which companies assist with each aspect of care and support.

One of the most frequent questions we get from families is: What exactly is the difference between Home Care and Home Health?

With the names being so similar, these two service offerings are easy to get mixed up! In earlier years, there was a clear line when it came to the fact that Home Health was covered by Medicare Advantage plans, whereas Home Care was not. In 2020, however, Medicare Advantage plans are beginning to offer support for those looking for Home Care services in their home or community. To make things a bit simpler, we’ve outlined a cheat sheet so you can know what the significant differences are:

Home Care:

  • Care is provided by Certified Nursing Assistants or PCAs (Personal Care Assistants).
  • Services provided are related to personal care: bathing, grooming, dressing, meal preparation/feeding, light housekeeping, medication reminders, restorative and passive exercise, errands, and transportation.
  • No physician order is needed to begin Home Care.
  • No requirements are necessary for services. There is a client assessment completed within the first week of starting services to discuss the plan of care and what care the client or family wants or needs.
  • Client services are from 4 to 24 hours per day, up to 7 days per week.
  • Most use long-term care insurance reimbursement, VA benefits, or privately pay for services.
  • Services can be provided as long as they are needed. The State of Georgia requires a reassessment of a client every three months.

Home Health:

  • Care is provided by Registered Nurses, Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists, Social Workers and Home Health Aides (The Aides can only be used if RN or PT services are being provided)
  • Skilled services are provided in the home, such as injectable medications, complex wound care, invasive procedures, medical teaching, and physical/occupational/speech therapy.
  • A physician’s order is needed for home health services.
  • Patients must meet certain requirements before they are assessed for home health services. The first requirement is that the patient is “homebound.”
  • Patient visits are for one hour, 1 to 5 times per week.
  • Medicare and private insurance reimburse visits.
  • Certification periods are for 60 days. A patient must be reassessed and approved by Medicare or insurance for recertification for an additional 60 days.

Home Care agencies with a professional healthcare team, like CaraVita Home Care, are equipped to partner with Home Health agencies to provide seamless and comprehensive care to meet an individual’s needs. Our nurses and therapists can help to train our care staff to understand therapy needs or exercises when therapy is not in session and monitor major health challenges so that hospital admission or readmission can be avoided. CaraVita Home Care is located in Roswell, Georgia, and proudly serves the Metro Atlanta area.

To find out ways we can assist in your home care needs, contact us today!

Bridgett Skelton
Written By:
 Bridgett Skelton, MBA, RN, BSN, RNC-OB is the Vice President of Business Development at CaraVita.


Topics: In-Home Care, Home Care Resources