Homecare and Home Healthcare: Knowing the Difference

For most, the terms homecare and home healthcare are often confused and considered to have the same services. However, they provide distinctively different services and have different meanings. Generally, the most distinctive difference is that homecare provides non-clinical support, while home healthcare provides professional medical assistance. One common similarity is that they are both available at the comfort of your home, and they can be tailored to meet your needs.

Understanding Homecare

Homecare is designed to provide non-clinical or non-skilled help and compassion for ailing individuals or seniors who need assistance with their daily activities. The levels of care tend to vary by individual needs from day-to-day support to weekly check-ins or support. Homecare caregivers are trained to deal with the subtlety of ailing and senior care, but they are generally not licensed to provide medical services. At the bare minimum, a caregiver should have a Home Health Aide Certification or Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) certification for them to practice professionally. Most homecare givers are attached to a registered agency.

Homecare Provider Tasks

·      Nursing Services – Caregivers provide nursing through supporting clients with recovery following hospitalization, rehabilitation stay, illnesses, or general health decline, resulting in frailty. Another nursing includes help with medications by giving reminders and checking medication for prescription accuracy.

·      Respite Support/Care – In the absence of a primary caregiver due to personal obligation or a much-needed break from their caregiving obligations, a caregiver will step in to provide relief or support. They assume the duties of the primary caregiver and provide safe and stable respite care.

·      Elderly Care – Providing seniors and elderly help with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and moving or walking around.

·      Palliative Care – Caregivers help individuals with serious illnesses feel better by preventing or treating side effects or symptoms of treatment or disease. Some of the illnesses/diseases under palliative care include, but not limited to, Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Parkinson’s, Cancer, Kidney failure, Lung, and Heart disease.

·      Hospice Care – For patients suffering from ailments with no curative treatment, a caregiver will step in to make them as comfortable as possible. Provided in any setting, the caregiver offers comprehensive care for the terminally ill patient and support for the family.

·      Companionship – Loneliness in America has reached epidemic levels, and it harms mental and physical health. A caregiver can help end an individual’s loneliness by being a comforting and nurturing companion.

·      Homemakers – Caregivers step in to fill the gaps created by challenging basic activities while maintaining independence for quality living conditions. Homemaking tasks include nutrition from planning, preparation to serving, light housekeeping, and running errands.

Understanding Home Healthcare

Home Healthcare is the medical and clinical supervision that is provided by a licensed professional. A doctor often prescribes it as a part of a patient’s healthcare regimen after an injury or hospitalization. Patients that require home healthcare have recurring medical needs or chronic diseases that require treatment, monitoring, administration of intravenous medication, or wound care. Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), physical therapists, and occupational therapists will provide health-based homecare through a home health agency or a hospice agency.

Home Healthcare Provider Tasks

·      Administering Medication – Healthcare providers in the home setting provide drug therapy through administering injections, IVs, and monitoring medication dosages.

·      Physical Therapy – Provided through activities such as mobility and strengthening exercises.

·      Occupational Therapy – Support or care provided for daily living activities such as self-care routines and fine and gross motor skills.

·      Monitoring Medical Equipment – For patients depending on medical equipment for their treatment, providers are tasked with monitoring the performance of the equipment for optimal patient support.

·      Monitoring Vital Signs – As a part of healthcare support, healthcare providers are expected to monitor a patient’s vitals such as body temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure, and breathing.

·      Injury Treatment – This is provided through cleaning and dressing wounds.

·      Pain Management – Some patients are continually experiencing pain from the ailment, treatment, or as a side effect of a procedure. Healthcare providers are tasked with providing relief to the patient by administering pain relief medication or therapy.

While there are numerous differences between homecare and home healthcare, both share the same purpose: helping patients or seniors remain independent and stay safe in their homes. If you are recovering from an illness, an injury, surgery, or struggling with daily activities and tasks, ask your health care provider if homecare or home healthcare could be viable. Get in touch for reliable and comprehensive homecare services.