Homecare Terms


Activities for Daily Living (ADL’s) These are simple and often everyday tasks that a senior can no longer perform and needs assistance from a Home Health Aide to perform with such as bathing, feeding, dressing, walking, etc.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s) – Are tasks like shopping, bill paying, cooking and other tasks that are important in the upkeep of a household. These tasks are differentiated from ADL’s because they deal more with social aspects of a person’s life than with their health.

Custodial Care – Any form of daily non-medical service offered by a Certified Nursing Assistant. This can range from bathing, feeding, eating, cleaning and errands to name but a few.

Private Pay (aka Private Duty) – An hourly rate charged for duties performed on behalf of the senior. This is the preferred payment option of many agencies and primarily will cover all non-medical forms of care.

Skilled Nursing Care – Any type of medical homecare that requires a Registered Nurse to apply. For example, this can include giving Intravenous drugs, shots, changing bandages, tube feedings and providing you and the senior with detailed information regarding health maintenance (Diabetes, Wound care, etc). Due to the skills required this form of care can cost more. However unlike non-medical forms of care it can be paid for with Medicare.

Plan of Care – A written document created in conjunction with the doctor, the homecare team and the patient receiving treatment detailing certain actions be performed. The homecare providers will keep the doctor up to date about a patient’s condition and adjust the plan as needed.

Occupational Therapy – a form of therapy aimed at restoring a patient’s ability  to perform their usual ever day tasks (bathing,, preparing meals, cleaning, dressing, etc). Like many kinds of therapy this can be an inpatient or outpatient procedure.

Homebound – A term used for when a patient should remain in their home. To be considered Homebound a patient must meet standard guidelines as established by Medicare. There include condition(s) which prevents movement, making it difficult and taxing both mentally and physically to leave the home and or inability to function without assistance from others in doing so. Leaving the home briefly for doctor’s appointments and therapy is not considered a violation of that status. When weighing your options please consult your insurance provider as their definitions to qualify will vary.

Geriatric Care Manager – A professional consultant with experience in the various forms of the eldercare business. Their experience and references can assist you making the best choice for your loved one.

Companionship – A form of non-medical homecare dedicated to social interacting with the senior or loved one through conversations, playing games, watching television or movies to name but a few.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) – A form of healthcare professional that can assist your loved one with everyday tasks. Certified Nursing Assistants are not qualified to perform any form of Skilled Nursing Care.

Registered Nurse (RN) A form of healthcare professional trained to assist your loved one with medical tasks that layman’s would not be able to provide such as administering IV’s, tube feedings, and giving shots to name but a few.

Medicare – Medicare is a federally funded program created to help pay for medical expenses for patients 65 and over. The coverage varies depends on the type of care that is needed.

Geriatric Care – Geriatric Care is a term often used interchangeably with senior and elder care.

Intermittent Care – Intermittent Care is recommended when a patient is in need of infrequent medical assistance. Therefore the patient is only seen for a few hours in a given day or week. Intermittent Caregivers can also be a relief to those caring for loved ones themselves but have errands, functions or other tasks that will take them away from the home and would prefer not to leave a senior home alone.

Homemaker Services – A person who performs basic tasks around the home to assist the patient with household duties such as cooking and cleaning. It is worth noting that a Homemaker is not trained to perform any other forms of personal or medical care.

Medicaid – A federally funded program created to assist seniors who lack the means to pay for homecare services. Unlike Medicare, Medicaid must be applied for and not immediately granted upon reaching a certain age.

Long Term Homecare – Services and equipment provided in the home to assist a patient with a chronic illness or disabilities for long periods of time. Long Term Homecare can be seen as a substitute for placement in an Assisted Living facility.