Home Health vs Home Care

Many in the healthcare field take for granted their knowledge of all the buzz words and acronyms, but many lay people and consumers do not know and may be embarrassed to ask questions.  Knowing the difference between Home Health vs Home Care can be crucial in moments of planning and events of a crisis.  There are very defining benefits to both, but a world of separation.

Home Health vs Home Care

Home Health

Home Health came into existence in the late 1970s when DRGs “diagnostic related groups“ were introduced in the hospitals. This caused a major cut in the amount of days one could remain in the hospital no matter what your age. The gap needed to be closed between discharging a patient to home or a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation.  These Home Health services were designed to provide some continued “HealthCare” at home.   A Medical Doctor needs to order Home HealthCare and thus the patient needs to qualify for the service in order for insurance to pay for it.  Insurance such as Medicare, presently covers home health 100%.
Home Health can include:  a visiting nurse,  Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy,  Speech Therapist, Home Health Aide and Social Worker.


  1. Legally, if you have Medicare, you need to be given three choices of home health companies.

  2. You can pick and choose the home health company of your choice no matter where you are hospitalized or who your doctor prefers.  This is a common misconception, but you should have control over who you choose to visit your home.

  3. Home Health is an intermittent service and the care usually is provided an average of three weeks.

  4. Once either a family member or care provider is trained or the patient has reached their maximum potential, care is discontinued.

  5. You must also remain home-bound during services except to leave home for M.D. appointments.

Home Care (Non-Medical)

On the other hand, non-medical home care services are not covered by Medicare and most consumers pay privately, unless they have a long term healthcare insurance policy or VA benefits through  what they call Aid and Attendance program. You choose when you want to have home care services.  A doctor can suggest these services when discharging from a facility or a hospital.  A Home caregiver provides non-medical care which is also called “custodial care.” Tasks  can include assistance  with laundry, shopping, meal preparation, transportation, errands, personal care and hygiene, light housekeeping, to name a few.


  1. Most Home Care companies can have minimum hours, usually 3 to 4.  (Love Right™ requires no minimum hours)

  2. Some include 24 hour care. Choose wisely, not all companies are the same. Some are licensed, some are Regulated Domestic Referral Agencies (or DRA’s).

  3. The major benefit of a Home Care Referral Agency is the  client and caregiver negotiate the rate, rather than a set rate which does not consider the level of care.  Care can range from companionship, to light assistance, and as complex as total bed-bound care.

  4. Non-medical means services are geared for caregivers helping with activities of daily living (ADL’s).  Although, when choosing a domestic referral agency model, you should be able to negotiate different tasks directly with the worker, as there are little to no tasks restricted.  

  5. The cost of non-medical home care is an out-of-pocket expense.  Unless you have a Long Term Care Insurance Policy

Home Health vs Home Care, they’re not the same thing.  Home Health is specifically Health Related services from licensed professionals paid through insurance and delivered to the home when leaving to get the care is not possible.  Whereas Home Care Services are of a Non-medical nature from mostly unlicensed professionals to deliver assistance with daily living tasks and covered by private payment, LTC Insurance or VA benefits.  Use these two programs when care is indicated.  A little assistance can go along way, especially when respite for a family member is needed.