Home Care and Home Health Care


257 Washington Street
Suite 2 Westwood MA 02090


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  • The Greater Boston Area including
  • Needham
  • Newton
  • Chestnut Hill
  • Auburndale
  • West Roxbury
  • Roslindale
  • Dedham
  • Westwood
  • Norwood
  • All surrounding areas

Home Care and Home Health Care: They’re Not the Same

Taking care of your loved one may be getting harder and harder, and at some point, you are no longer able to do everything yourself. You need help at home, yet finding the right care can be confusing. A quick search online will produce pages and pages of results, many of which might not be what you’re really looking for. This article is to help you navigate the waters of all the kinds of care available, to help you identify exactly the kinds of services you’re seeking. Usually clients’ needs fall into two categories: medical and non-medical. Home care covers the non-medical needs, while home health care covers the medical portion. Both home care and home health are provided wherever the client is living, whether it be at home or in assisted living or a rehab/hospital room.

It’s easy to confuse these names; only one little word is different! (In fact, in the Boston area, there is Synergy HomeCare, our agency, and another Synergy that is health care. That makes it even more confusing!) While most people may not be aware of the distinct differences between these two types of services, a quick review will make it clear. Once you are able to understand the roles of each, it will be easier to determine the right fit for the care you need.

Home Care


Home care reaches out to people who need help with daily activities. Home care aides can provide anything from transportation to personal hygiene care. Their services focus on providing safety, companionship, engagement and comfort. They are often - but not exclusively - trained Home Health Aides or Certified Nursing Assistants, and they usually have certification in First Aid and CPR.

As its name suggests, home care is generally provided in the home. This makes for a more personal relationship with the client in a familiar area, with the intention of helping the client live his or her daily life to the fullest possible extent of independence.

Home Care is the right service when a client . . .

  • Needs assistance with daily activities.
  • Doesn’t drive and needs transportation.
  • Seeks companionship and social engagement.
  • Suffers from dementia, Alzheimer's, or other illnesses that require supervision for safety.

Home Care Services include:

  • Companionship                
  • Social Activities                
  • Meal Planning/Prep          
  • Laundry
  • Shopping/Errands
  • Transportation             
  • Dressing                                    
  • Medication Reminders 
  • Transfer Assist              
  • Bathing/Shower
  • Personal Hygiene
  • Incontinence

Home Health Care


Home health care meets medical needs, which might be required while recovering from surgery or for ongoing wound care, medicine administration (including injections), and other situations that have clinical components. Home health care is provided by medical professionals such as a nurse or a physical therapist. Though home health care can get expensive, Medicare and health insurance usually help cover the cost. This type of care is always performed under a doctor’s directive, and it only qualifies as home health care after the patient leaves the hospital.

Home Health Care is needed in the following instances:

To help someone regain independence after an incident that required hospitalization or a stay in a rehabilitation facility.
When a patient has had a recent medication change, and the new medication needs to be monitored.
When a patient experiences an overall decline in functioning, and health care is needed to help him or her adapt to these changes.

Home Health Care services include:

  • Therapy
  • Medical Tests          
  • Injections                  
  • Medicine Administration    
  • Wound Care                   
  • Catheter or Colostomy Maintenance

To summarize, while the home care aide can remind the client to take medication, the health care professional administers it. And while the home care aide can change a catheter bag or provide incontinence care, she doesn’t change the catheter itself. A home care aide can also assist with exercises and massage, but home health care provides the actual therapy.

In most situations, it’s not necessarily one service or the other; most health needs will require both. Many clients find that utilizing services in home care AND in health care will best address their circumstances. A common scenario is a few hours of skilled nursing care and therapy from home health agencies, supplemented by more hours of home care to meet the rest of the client’s daily needs.

We at SYNERGY HomeCare are there to meet these non-medical needs. Our caregivers can bring comfort to daily life through help with household tasks and meal preparation. They can bring joy and stimulation through conversation and shared activities, such as a stroll through the park or a game of cards. And they provide safety by monitoring the client’s movements, whether it is to protect from a fall or to redirect confusion from dementia. Life is not only medical well-being; home care is there for the full scope of daily life.

To learn more about how Synergy HomeCare can provide care that meets your needs for comfort and maximum independence, please give us a call at 781-762-1114.

Shannon Sakellariou
Shannon Sakellariou

Shannon has devoted her life to service, teaching for almost 20 years and serving as a missionary educator in Albania for four years. Her work with SYNERGY HomeCare of Greater Boston will continue that service, as she works with families and clients to meet their individual home care needs. Her motivation is the joy she finds in building relationships and finding solutions for each person's unique situation.

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