How do you know what care resource is right for your situation?

Do you need to arrange home care for a loved one urgently, in the aftermath of a serious illness or injury? Or are you planning for a future where your parents can age independently at home with caregiving support? The first step in arranging in home care in San Diego is to understand what a home care aide can do for you.

The terms home care and home health care sound incredibly similar, especially to someone who has never used either service before. Home care solutions for recovering patients, seniors who want to age in place or people with chronic conditions often require a mix of both kinds of care. How do you know what care resource is right for your situation?

As we discussed in our blog post Do You Need Home Care or Home Health?, home care is non-medical while home health is medical. Home care aides providing in-home care can offer medical-adjacent support like medication reminders, light assistance with exercise, meal planning and preparation, and diet monitoring. For example, they cannot administer medication, deliver physical or occupational therapy, or create a diet plan. Home health care supports patients who are under the care of a doctor.

According to the California Association for Health Services At Home, (CAHSAH), “Home care aide organizations may offer such services as homemaking, meal preparation, live-in attendants, supervision and assistance with feeding, dressing, bathing and toileting, respite/companion and child care, and escort or transportation services.” Home care aides, aka sometimes called personal care aides or home care companions, are available hourly, daily and live-in 24/7, depending on need.

How do you know what kind of specific help a home care aide can give you or your loved one? CAHSAH suggests these “possible services of a companion:

  • Companionship and conversation
  • Sort and/or read mail
  • Arrange appointments
  • Assist with walking
  • Letter writing and correspondence
  • Reading
  • Meal planning
  • Meal preparation
  • Make bed
  • Assist with entertainment
  • Answer the phone
  • Answer the door
  • Basic grooming
  • Apparel selection assistance
  • Care of indoor house plants
  • Appointment reminders
  • Discuss current & historical events
  • Assist in decision making
  • Participate in crafts
  • Play games/cards
  • Sewing assistance
  • Monitor diet and eating habits
  • Organize receipts
  • Prepare grocery list
  • Supervise home maintenance
  • Oversee home deliveries
  • Coordinate lawn care
  • Clip coupons for shopping
  • Weather awareness
  • Light exercise assistance
  • Review phone messages
  • Monitor food freshness & expirations
  • Mail bills and letters
  • Buy newspapers, magazines, books
  • Rent and play movies
  • Plan visits, outings, and trips
  • Visit neighbors, friends, family
  • Birthday and anniversary reminders
  • Maintain client calendar
  • Maintain family scrapbook
  • Record family history
  • Medication reminders”

Medical care in the home is delivered by a home health care provider. Per the Johns Hopkins website, “The most common form of home health care is some type of nursing care depending on the person’s needs. In consultation with the doctor, a registered nurse will set up a plan of care. Nursing care may include:

  • Wound dressing,
  • Ostomy care,
  • Intravenous therapy,
  • Administering medication,
  • Monitoring the general health of the patient,
  • Pain control, and
  • Other health support.”

Other kinds of home health care include physical, occupational, or speech therapy, medical social services, nutritional support, laboratory and X-ray imaging, and pharmaceutical services.