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What types of services does a home care agency offer?

By Peter DiMaria

Home Care Agencies provide services in people's home or place of residence, such as the client’s home, an independent care facility, or assisted living facility.

The goal of home care is to allow the client and/or their spouse to stay safely in their place of residence and continue to be independent as possible. Home care clients can be seniors; individuals recovering from an accident or surgery; new moms; and people with chronic health issues or physical disabilities.

Traditionally, both skilled and non-medical home care services were provided by home health care agencies. Home health services included skilled nursing care, occupational therapy, physical therapy, durable medical equipment, and other personal healthcare-related services. These services usually require a physician's order and are usually paid by Medicare or other medical insurance. Some agencies also provide non-medical home care.

Today, there are agencies, like Home Helpers Home Care Enfield, which are specialized in non-medical home care. Non-medical Home Care Agencies provide services that do not require a physician's order and are not paid by Medicare or medical insurance. Non-medical home care includes personal care (bathing, toileting, continence care, lifting, assistance with ambulation, and feeding) homemaking (cooking, laundry, light housekeeping), and companionship (shopping, errands, and incidental transportation).

Non-medical home care includes personal care (bathing, toileting, continence care, lifting, assistance with ambulation, and feeding) homemaking (cooking, laundry, light housekeeping), and companionship.


ADL's and IADL's

Typically, non-medical home care agencies provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADL's), independent activities of daily living (IADL's), and companionship.

ADL's (Activities of Daily Living) are ambulating (walking), transferring (getting up from a chair), dressing, eating, drinking, personal hygiene, and taking medication. IADL's (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living) are driving, preparing meals, doing housework, shopping, managing finances, managing medication, and using the telephone.

Home care is health care or supportive care (often referred to as home health care or skilled care) provided in the patient's home by healthcare professionals or by family and friends (also known as caregivers, primary caregiver, or voluntary caregivers who give informal care). Often, the term home care is used to distinguish non-medical care or custodial care, which is care that is provided by persons who are not nurses, doctors, or other licensed medical personnel, whereas the term home health care, refers to care that is provided by licensed personnel. "Home care", "home health care", "in-home care" are phrases that are used interchangeably to mean any type of care given to a person in their own home. Both phrases have been used in the past interchangeably regardless of whether the person requires skilled care or not. More recently, there is a growing movement to distinguish between "home health care" meaning skilled nursing care and "home care" meaning non-medical care.

Home care aims to make it possible for people to remain at home rather than use residential, long-term, or institutional-based nursing care. Home Care providers usually render services in the client's own home. These services may include some combination of professional health care services, life assistance services, homemaking, and companionship. Professional Home Health services could include medical or psychological assessment, wound care, medication teaching, pain management, disease education and management, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy.

While there are differences in terms used in describing aspects of Home Care or Home Health Care in the United States and other areas of the world, for the most part, the descriptions are very similar.

Estimates for the U.S. indicate that currently, most home care is informal with families and friends providing a substantial amount of care. For formal care, the health care professionals most often involved are nurses followed by physical therapists and home care aides. Other health care providers include respiratory and occupational therapists, medical social workers and mental health workers. Non-medical home care is generally paid for by Medicaid, Long Term Insurance, or paid with the patient's own resources (including through reversed mortgage).


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