What is the Difference Between Home Health Care Services and In-Home Caregiving?

Finding the right kind of care for yourself or for a loved one can feel overwhelming. There are many types of care and many services and agencies offering that care. How do you know what’s right for your needs? Today, we’ll review the differences between home health care services (medical) and in-home caregiving (non-medical). We will explore each type of service, identify what is included, and determine who it’s best suited for based on their needs.

Female caregiver wearing scrubs placing tray of food on wooden table between a senior couple

What is In-Home Caregiving?

In-home caregiving is non-medical assistance provided by a certified caregiver directly in the home of the person who needs it. When a person is no longer able to independently sustain their lifestyle without help, they can use non-medical in-home care to continue living independently while maintaining their daily routines.

In-Home Care is Best for People Who:

Have mobility issues or physical limitations

Are managing cognitive conditions

Are recovering from surgery

Are managing chronic illness

Are aging and need additional help to manage daily tasks

Non-medical in-home care is best for individuals managing chronic illness, injury, surgery recovery, or for those who are aging and need additional help who cannot have constant care from friends or family due to their own responsibilities like work and childcare.

Smiling female caregiver standing at front door holding paper bag filled with groceries
In-Home Caregiving Services Include:
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Cooking meals
  • Maintaining the home
  • Light housekeeping
  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Toileting/Incontinent care
  • Ambulation
  • Transferring (from bed, bathroom)
Non-Medical Caregivers also:
  • Provide transportation (to places like the post office, classes, appointments, shopping, personal care)
  • Prepare meals based on dietary needs
  • Provide companionship and socialization opportunities
  • Help learn new skills (mobile devices, light exercise, games)
  • Provide medication reminders and sort medications
  • Help to understand medical instructions from primary care providers

Essentially, in-home care services are best for people who want to stay in their homes and remain independent while managing general limitations. These services can be short-term for people who are recovering from surgery or managing spikes in their chronic illness. They can also be long-term – especially for seniors as they age and need additional help, but not so severely that they need around-the-clock support.

Male home care nurse sitting on couch with senior man

What Are Home Health Care Services?

Home health care services are medical services provided by a registered nurse, a certified nursing assistant, or a doctor at home, rather than in the hospital. These services are prescribed by an attending doctor and are generally billed through insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, depending on the circumstances of the patient.

Home Health Care is Best for People Who:

Require trained medical assistance at home

Are managing more complex surgery recovery

Require at-home medical assistance for treatment

Are terminally ill

Female physician using stethoscope to listen to heart of senior man
Home Health Care Services Include:
  • Administering treatment
  • Medication management
  • Catheter and other injection procedures
  • Physical therapy
  • Wound dressing
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • IV infusions
  • Tracheotomy care
  • Ventilator patient care
  • Pain management

The easiest way to know if home health care services are right for you or your loved one is to talk to your doctor. These services are always prescribed by a primary care physician and are generally not available directly to consumers without medical consultation. It is not uncommon, however, for individuals receiving home health care services to also receive in-home caregiving. Individuals needing home health care also likely need assistance with their daily routines that are not provided by home health care medical professionals. Home health care services generally do not include regular hygiene assistance, toileting, meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation, and companionship. For the best outcome, consider pairing both services to make sure your needs or the needs of your loved one are fully met.

Making a Plan for Care

If you or a loved one are in need of some extra assistance, reach out to your local ameriCARE to learn more about our certified in-home caregivers. We’ll work with you to tailor a plan that meets your needs so you or your loved one can stay Happier@Home.