Traditional home health care usually consists of skilled care involving nurses, therapists, and wound care specialists. Non-medical services are a separate branch of care that focuses on assistance in the home to allow people to stay in the home and be as independent as possible. There are some agencies that provide both types of home care. Differences include the scope of care that can be provided and overall costs for services.
Scope of Care
Agencies that specialize in non-medical care hire certified care providers who can assist with activities of daily living. They can do cooking and light housekeeping, help people get out of the house for fresh air and socialization, stay overnight, run errands, provide transportation, or simply provide companionship. Often referred to as senior Care or elder care, these services are affordable, stave off despair and depression, and increase self-esteem.
In many cases, home care providers are hired by family members who live at a distance, work all day, or do not have the space to have elderly parents move in. Temporary services to give family members a break, or stay with elderly while family is away is called respite care and is also available.
People living alone will also benefit from home care services. This type of care is also excellent for people at any age who are recovering from an illness, accident, or injury. Once the need for skilled care is deemed unnecessary, leaving the hospital will speed recovery.
This care is more involved and may include post-operative care, pain management, injections, tracheotomy care, or tube feedings. The need for skilled care may be temporary, but can also be required for long-term care. Costs are typically covered by medical insurance, either totally or in part.
When non-medical care is all that is needed, it is wise to find an agency that only provides that type of caregiver. The reason is that overall costs are lower because regulations do not require upper levels of management to have advanced degrees. That means salaries and overhead costs are not out of control.
Agencies that provide skilled care are required to have nursing supervisors, professionals trained in assessments, and a doctor on-call for emergencies. That drastically increase the overhead costs for the entire agency. Documentation, reporting, and accountability is also higher, which raises operating costs.
Compare agencies to determine which will suit individual needs and provide the appropriate level of care recommended by the doctor or surgeon. Look at pricing, minimum requirements for hiring, and the training process provided to all staff.