By Clare Absher RN BSN Last Updated 11/13/2020
Home Health Care is designed for seniors who prefer to live independently in their own homes and hire outside assistance when needed. In the US, we have many ways to categorize home health care, but the most important factors are licensure, payment method, and types of services (skilled or non-medical).
Skilled Care is provided by Medicare certified home health agencies and reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance. Services include nursing care, therapy (physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory), as well as social services and hospice care. Following a specific plan of care, and under the supervision of a skilled discipline such as a nurse or therapist, a home health aide may provide personal care for a limited time. Skilled services are provided on an intermittent basis, with scheduled home visits to homebound clients only, under a plan of treatment ordered by a physician.
Non-Medical Care is provided by MD licensed home care agencies and payment methods include private pay, long term care insurance, and Medicaid. Caregiver duties involve personal care (bathing, grooming, and dressing), in addition to meal preparation, housekeeping, and running errands. Services may also include medication reminders, help with prescribed therapy exercises, and transportation to medical appointments. Non-medical home care can be arranged for any amount of time needed, ranging from an hour of respite to 24-hour care.