Skip to main content
5498 POPLAR AVENUE | SUITE 3 | Memphis, TN 38119
home health care

Senior Care and Home Health Care: What’s the Difference?

For those of us in the senior industry, it’s common knowledge

But we regularly encounter individuals who are either unfamiliar with both Senior Care and Home Health care, or cannot differentiate the two services.  This is a quick and simple explanation of each, and how the two complement one another.

First off, let’s start with Home Health Care.  This three-word phrase perfectly encapsulates what this service provides.

Home:  services are provided in the home.

Health:  the services that are provided are medical in nature.

Care:  the staff is providing medical “care” to its clients.

Most of the time, home health care follows a stay in the hospital.  Shortly before discharge, the doctor will write and order for home health care.  The patient will go home and will receive any number of medical services in the home.  Often, it’s physical, occupation, or speech therapy performed by licensed therapists.  In other instances, it’s vital sign checks and administering of medicines performed by registered nurses.  In addition, the home health care company may assign an aide who will help the clients bathe and toilet.  Keep in mind, these visits usually last 30 minutes to an hour, and occur, at most, 3 days a week.  Home Health Care is covered to some extent by Medicare.

Now, let’s explain Senior Care

The most important thing to know is that Senior Care is “non-medical” care.  Bathing, toileting, housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, feeding, dressing, fall prevention, medication reminders, companionship, linen changes and more.  Essentially, any task, within reason, that is not a medical task could be performed by Senior Care staff.  Senior Care staff can be scheduled as much or as little as needed.  It is totally client controlled.  There are no set hours or schedules that clients must adapt to.  You, the client and/or the family, make the schedule.

Senior Care is covered by long term care insurance to the extent of the policy benefits.  Long term care insurance must be purchased privately and clients must meet health qualifications before it is issued.  In other words, you must buy it when you are healthy and do not need it so that you can use it when you are older and require it.  Senior Care clients also pay for services out of pocket.

How do these two services complement one another?  Most commonly, the home health care company is the first to contact the client.  The doctor has written and order, and the therapist, nurse, or aide arrive at the home.  Upon entering the home and visiting with the client and the family, the home health care staff member may see that there are many other non-medical tasks that the client needs.

Perhaps the client lives alone, and can’t safely walk to open the door.  Or perhaps the client is unable to dress himself.  The home health care nurse may notice that the housekeeping is not getting done because the client is no longer able to do it safely.  Meal preparation is impossible for the client because she can’t stand for long enough periods to prepare, cook and serve a meal.  The same difficulties are present when attempting to do laundry or change the linens.  It’s simply not safe for the client to attempt it.  And although an aide is coming from home health care once a week to help with a bath, the client would like more than one bath a week.  These examples are signs that the client needs Senior Care in addition to Home Health Care.

At Senior Care Management Solutions

we work with all the home health care companies in the greater Memphis area and northwest Mississippi.  If you have a loved one going home from the hospital with home health care and worry he or she may need more than just the medical tasks accomplished, give us a call.  We can craft a specialized plan to meet any budget and get your loved one the help they need.