When families begin the process of setting up a plan of care for a senior loved one, the terminology involved can be somewhat confusing. For example, how does In-Home Caregiving differ from Home Health Care?
Comfort Keepers In-Home Caregivers can assist with personal care, medication reminders, transportation, shopping, errands, meal preparation and chore housekeeping. Caregiving services are considered “non-medical” and are generally put in place to assist with the activities of daily living. These plans of care evolve with a senior’s individual needs.
Comfort Keepers works in tandem with Home Health organizations, but the services we provide are different. To clarify, Home Health Services are provided to a person at his or her residence and are in accordance with a plan of treatment for illness or infirmity prescribed by a physician or podiatrist. In-Home Caregiving does not need to be prescribed by a medical professional.
Home Health Care includes Skilled Nursing Care, as well as other skilled care services, like physical and occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, and medical social services. These services are given by a variety of skilled health care professionals at home. This type of patient-focused care can include on-call services and after-hours visits. Home Health Care is funded by Medicare, Medicaid or Private Insurance
Home Health Care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care a senior would get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
Examples of skilled Home Health services include:
- Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound
- Patient and caregiver education
- Intravenous or nutrition therapy
- Monitoring of serious illness and unstable health status
In general, the goal of Home Health Care is to treat an illness or injury. Home Health Care helps seniors get better, regain independence and become as self-sufficient as possible.
What should a senior expect from Home Health Care?
- Doctor or allowed practitioner’s orders are needed to start care. Once the doctor or allowed practitioner approves a senior for Home Health services, the Home Health agency will schedule an appointment and come to the senior’s home to talk about care needs and the senior’s general health.
- The Home Health agency staff will also talk to the doctor or allowed practitioner about the care plan and keep the doctor updated about the senior’s progress.
- It’s important that Home Health staff see the senior as often as the doctor or allowed practitioner ordered.
Examples of what the Home Health staff should do:
- Check what the senior is eating and drinking.
- Check blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and breathing.
- Check that the senior is taking prescription and other drugs and any treatments correctly.
- Ask if the senior is having any pain.
- Check safety-related conditions in the home.
- Coordinate the senior’s care. This means they must communicate regularly with the senior and the family, the doctor or allowed practitioner, and anyone else who provides care — this would include the senior’s Comfort Keepers In-Home Caregiving Team.
The need for Home Health Care has grown for many reasons. Medical science and technology have improved. Many treatments that could once be done only in a hospital can now be done at home. Also, Home Health Care is usually less expensive and can often be just as effective as care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility. And just as important, most patients and their families prefer to stay at home rather than be in a hospital or a nursing home.
The doctor and Home Health agency staff review the senior’s plan of care as often as necessary, but at least once every 60 days. If a senior’s health problems change, the plan of care will be reviewed and may change. Home Health agency staff must tell the doctor right away if a senior’s health changes. Care can continue as long as a senior is eligible.
Only the senior’s doctor can change the plan of care. The Home Health agency can’t change the plan of care without getting the doctor’s approval. Seniors must be told of any changes in their plan of care and should seek clarification from the doctor if any questions arise.
If you have questions about how your Comfort Keepers Caregiving Team can work with a Home Health agency to provide a comprehensive plan of care for a senior loved one, please contact our staff at 847-215-8550. We are happy to help!
For more information about Home Health services, please visit these links:
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services -
IDPH Home Health Agency Directory -