What assistance is available in the home setting?

At this point, it is important to understand the difference between Home Health Care and Homecare services. Although they sound the same, they are quite different.

Home Health Care vs. Homecare

Home Health Care is medically oriented or skilled care. The high level of assistance provided by home health care requires a physician’s order and is covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans. It can provide the client with a wide range of professional licensed health care services, including nursing, therapy and medical social work. These services are focused on assisting the client to recover from an acute illness or injury and teaching them how to manage their own care effectively. The primary goal of home health care is simple – provide the client with the medical support they need to remain in their home for as long as possible.

Homecare is not medically oriented care and therefore does not require a physician’s order. The focus of homecare services is custodial in nature, with trained – but usually unlicensed – individuals providing assistance to clients with activities such as housekeeping, errands, meal preparation, transportation assistance and personal care. These services are often structured on an hourly basis, with the individual providing assistance to the client for an agreed upon period of time. (example: 3 hours a day, Monday – Friday) While the availability of these services can have a positive impact on a client’s ability to remain in the home, Medicare or most private insurance plans do not cover this type of care. Unless a client has a long term care policy which provides for this benefit, the cost of homecare services is usually the client’s responsibility. Some states cover homecare services through their state funded Medicaid program, but the eligibility for these services is extremely limited and the waiting lists are long.

Homecare services are called by many names…such as sitter, homemaker, private pay, primary homecare or paid caregiver services.

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