Saturday, November 29, 2008

Home care vs Home health

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between home care and home health, companions vs health aides? They are two types of support services you can receive in your own home. They sound similar but are actually two very different services. Home health care is ordered by the physician, usually at the time of discharge, following a hospital admission. It is medically focused and it is covered by Medicare and and other insurances.

Home health care is usually short term, is prescribed as follow up care or to monitor a health problem. It usually involves both a visiting nurse and home health aide. The nurse will assist the patient with changing bandages, monitoring a wound, assessing blood pressure and monitoring glucose levels. The physician writes what is called doctors orders at time of discharge and the skilled care nurse carries them out.

The home health aide assists the patient with their activities of daily living(ADL's), prepares and serves meals, medication reminders and is only there for about three-four hours a day, two-three days a week. Home health is controlled by insurances and are usually short term.

Homecare is not ordered by the physician and is not covered by insurance. It is considered a non-medical homecare service or custodial care. Homecare services are usually paid out of pocket or through a private insurance.

Companion/homemakers assist the adult or elderly population, needing minimal assistance so they can remain at home. Home care is an alternative to Assisted living facilities and Nursing homes. Afterall, we all know "There is no place like home".

Services include, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping, caring for personal laundry, errands, transporting clients to doctor appointments, hair/nail salons, medication reminders, walks, conversation and companionship. These are just a few of the services provided by home care companions.

Respite relief is available for those family members who are caring for a loved one and need to take a break or time off. Home care services can either be long term ot short term, from a few days to indefinitely. You are assigned two caregivers, one for everyday and the other as a back up.

Whether you choose Home care or Home health, make sure the workers are bonded, have insurance, have background screenings and drug test performed and have references checked. Ask to meet the caregiver prior to services being rendered, find out some information about them by asking questions.

You want an agency that supervises and monitors their workers, provides quality homecare and has quality assurance checks performed on an ongoing basis. Make a list of your needs and then decide whether you need home care or home health.

Vilma Vaccaro
Preferred Homecare Plus