Header image: home health versus home care

Independent living services can be one of those catch-all terms that doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing to every person, depending on the situation they might be in.

Some are looking to find out what an independent living retirement community may offer as they evaluate their options, but for others, it’s a search for services that can help them remain in their own home as they age.

They want to be able to take care of themselves with the right kinds of support and avoid moving into a care environment like assisted living. Typically they’re recovering from an injury or surgery and need help for a short time while they heal, or perhaps they simply want a few hours of assistance each day for caregiving or companionship.

The two most common services are home health and home care, which are very different from each other.

Home health is requested by a physician

Home health refers to services ordered by a physician, such as physical therapy and occupational therapy, or care from a registered nurse, such as bandage changes, dispensing IV medication and checking on feeding or drainage tubes.

The physician order is required by the health insurance provider or Medicare to validate it’s medically necessary.

Home care is a non-skilled service

Generally referring to caregiver or companion services delivered at someone’s residence, home care is a service that doesn’t required help from or an order from, a medical professional (skilled care).

Caregiver services are support for activities of daily living, such as preparing meals, showering, toileting and dressing. It’s usually private-pay service not covered by Medicare.

Did you know you may be able to pay for long-term care with a life insurance policy? Learn more in last week’s blog post. You also might like the post on proactively managing your own health care.

In addition, many home care agencies will also offer companion services that will provide basic companionship and transportation, light housekeeping, and even prepare meals.  

Someone who requires more involved home health services or caregiving around the clock typically would move from their home residence into an assisted living or skilled nursing environment.

Other independent living services

Along with home health and home care, there are other services available to help you remain in your own home, too. These range from meal delivery or transportation to wellness services designed to help you avoid losing independence, like continuing care at home (CCaH) programs.

A CCaH wellness coordinator will also coordinate (and pay for!) any care services needed, including home health, home care and assisted living. A new product offering for senior care, its role is to keep their members able to take care of themselves, and if something should prevent that, provide any care services needed as an alternate or supplement to long-term care insurance.

All of these programs and services play an important role in keeping older adults in their own homes longer–safe, comfortable and independent.

Learn more about continuing care at home programs at our no-obligation discovery seminar, or call (623) 227- HOME (4663).  

Sun Health at Home is the first CCaH program in the Western United States, and the only one available in Arizona.

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