Do You Need Home Care or Home Health?

When the time comes, how do you know whether you or your loved one needs in-home care or home health care? A few factors determine the answer: is your loved one returning home from a medical facility or trying to stay at home safely? Do you need medical attention or support with some day-to-day activities? Do you need round-the-clock care or just a little bit of help? Whether you are helping a family member, loved one or yourself, knowing the difference between home care and home health is the first step.

Many people receive in home care and home health care at the same time, as they are not mutually exclusive. There is a wide array of health care that people of all ages can require in their home because it’s not possible or practical for them to leave their home or be in a facility. There’s also a shocking amount of activity that we all do to keep ourselves and our homes running that doesn’t register until we simply can’t do it. To find the right home care solutions for yourself or your loved one, it’s crucial to know what support each resource can offer.

Home care is non-medical care

Home care, also called in-home care, personal care or home care services, is non-medical care. Who needs non-medical personal care? Seniors who want to age in place, patients who are returning home from surgery or illness to recuperate, and people with a chronic illness or disability can all benefit from in-home care. Here are some examples of home care:

  • Help with the ‘activities of daily living’ (ADLs) related to personal care: showering or bathing, dressing, grooming, walking, moving to and from the bed or chair, and using the toilet
  • Light or basic housekeeping: cleaning the rooms used regularly, yard work, and laundry
  • Grocery shopping, food prep and meal planning
  • Companionship: conversation, games, and reading aloud
  • Assistance with ambulation, transfer, and fall prevention
  • Medication reminders
  • Company while running errands and going to appointments
  • Assistance with therapy or rehabilitative exercises
  • Respite care

Home health care is medical care

Home health care is clinical (or ‘skilled’) care by licensed nurses or therapists. Generally, medical services provided at home are intended to help you recover from an injury or illness. Home health care must be prescribed by a doctor and is delivered based on a plan the doctor develops. Patients can receive care at home less expensively and more efficiently than at a hospital or skilled nursing facility. The most common provider is a visiting nurse who administers the doctor’s plan of care. Other medical services delivered at home can include:

  • Short-term nursing care
  • Long-term nursing care, also called home-based skilled nursing, or adult nursing
  • Medical social work
  • Administering medications/injections
  • Medication reminders
  • Administering medical tests
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Wound care
  • Pain management
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy

There are a lot of resources available to people recovering from an illness or injury, or to seniors who want to maintain their independence, in the comfort of their homes. When you are in the position of arranging care for yourself or your loved ones, you will need to know which kind of home care in San Diego is right for your situation.