Home Health Care and Home Care Explained

by Eileen Martínez, Community Liaison for ComForCare

Just as I was deciding which of the myriad of topics our clients face for this column, I serendipitously received a phone call from a prospective client. She was looking for home health care for her mom. Our first question at ComForCare is always for clarification: “Does your mom/dad require home health care or home care?” The reply is usually an exasperated, “I don’t know what the difference is.”

My heart goes out to these callers. ComForCare is a private duty home care provider, and when the call comes in for a home health care agency, we help the caller learn the difference between the two. That way, families can better understand the options they have for their loved one.

According to Medicare.gov, home health care is 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 the care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.

Home health care providers offer a variety of services, from simple tasks, like giving injections, to the more complex, like monitoring serious illnesses and unstable health status. It can include intravenous or nutrition therapy, care for surgical wounds, or care for pressure ulcers. Home health care agencies also provide patient and caregiver education. A more comprehensive list of home health services can be found at Medicare.gov/.

Home care, on the other hand, helps people who are homebound with daily tasks. Instrumental activities of daily living care includes using a telephone, shopping, food preparation, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, taking medications properly, and managing finances.

Activities of daily living care helps people with tasks like bathing, toilet hygiene, personal hygiene, self-feeding, and grooming. It also helps people move safely from one place to another in their home.

In summary, home health care is more medically based and is usually covered by Medicare. Home care is non-medical, but it’s an option for people who want to continue to live at home independently and safely. Home care services help with daily activities that are vital for a good quality of life and can be rendered wherever home is, whether that’s in a private house or an independent living community.

Eileen Martínez is a Community Liaison for ComForCare – North Oakland County, located at 2708 S Rochester Rd in Rochester Hills. You can call 248-623-6500, email Eileen.martinez@comforcare.com or visit comforcare.com/mi/northoakland/ to learn more.