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Skilled Home Health vs. Home Care

The Major Differences Between the Two

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Home care aide walking with elderly man.

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What is the major difference between these two home services? The answer is this: Home health care services are most often performed by registered nurses and medically trained personnel whereas non-medical home care services are usually performed by professional caregivers.

Below we explain their differences to help you make the best possible decision on the type of care you or a loved one may need.

Skilled Home Health Care

Medicare defines skilled care as care that must be performed by a skilled professional, or under their supervision. Skilled therapy services refer to physical, speech, and occupational therapy.Home health nurse with elderly man.

The type of care refers to care provided in the home by a licensed medical professional, such as a nurse or physical therapist.

Generally, home health professionals are only authorized to perform the tasks prescribed by the person's physician. 

Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF).

Home health care includes skilled nursing care, as well as other skilled care services, like physical and occupational therapy, speech- language therapy, and medical social services. These services are given by a variety of skilled health care professionals at home.

Examples of skilled home health services include:

  • Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound
  • Patient and caregiver education
  • Intravenous or nutrition therapy
  • Injections
  • Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status

What should I expect from my home health care?

  • Doctorís orders are needed to start care. Once your doctor refers you for home health services, the home health agency will schedule an appointment and come to your home to talk to you about your needs and ask you some questions about your health.
  • The home health agency staff will also talk to your doctor about your care and keep your doctor updated about your progress.
  • Itís important that home health staff see you as often as the doctor ordered.ound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound

Regardless of the rules regarding any particular type of care, in order for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, or a Medicare Part C plan to provide coverage, the care must meet two basic requirements:

1) The care must be "medically necessary." This means that it must be ordered or prescribed by a licensed physician or other authorized medical provider, and that Medicare (or a Medicare Part C plan) agrees that the care is necessary and proper.

2) The care must be performed or delivered by a healthcare provider who participates in Medicare.

Non Medical In-Home Care

Non-medical home care refers to support at home that does not involve medical skill; services include light housekeeping, running errands or offering pleasant companionship. Non-medical home care in particular means that caregivers do not handle skilled care like administering shots or tending wounds.

Caregiver with Elderly ManMedicare doesn't cover custodial care when it's the only kind of care you need.

$21.00 per hour - Nationwide in 2019, the average cost for non-medical home care is $21.00 per hour with the state averages ranging from $16.00 - $28.00 per houre costs from home care agencies.

Home Care Payment Options

The following home care tasks are just a few examples of tjhe types of services provided by non-medical in-home care agencies:

  • Bathing
  • Transferring
  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • Medication Management
  • Companionship
  • Meal Preparation
  • Light Housekeeping
  • Transportation (doctor appt. shopping, etc.)

In short, non-medical home care is when a professional helps with things you would normally do for your loved one. Things like laundry, light housekeeping, and bathing, so that you can focus on being a family rather than a caretaker.

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DISCLAIMER: Links to other websites or references to products, services or publications do not imply the endorsement or approval of such websites, products, services or publications by Elder Options of Texas. The determination of the need for senior care services and the choice of a facility is an extremely important decision. Please make your own independent investigation.