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.
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:
- Social Activities
- Meal Planning/Prep
- Medication Reminders
- Transfer Assist
- Personal Hygiene
Home Health Care
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:
- Medical Tests
- 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.