Home health family services vs Home care providers: What’s the difference?

Home health family services vs Home care providers
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MD: Planning to start a home health care and home care company? If yes, you need to understand how they differ and what type of insurance you need to protect it from business risks.

Have you ever wondered what home health care and home care are? Maybe you’ve been uncertain how they’re different or even whether they’re different at all.

The fact is, although they sound very similar, home health care services and home care services are different from each other in many ways. Here, we will explore how home health care and home care differ and what might be ideal for you.

What are home health care services? 

Let’s say a senior relative has had a severe stroke. After the care in the ICU, she is being sent home for continued, long-term recovery. You have been told that she requires extended medical care until she recovers sufficiently. 

Your relative’s doctor prescribes home health family services. These home health care services will assign a home health aide who will live with your relative for the duration of the recovery, taking care of her medical needs. These include monitoring their vitals, changing any wound dressings, cleaning them up after they use the toilet, bathing them, inserting the feeding tubes, helping them learn to sit up or walk again, etc.

Such type of prescribed, at-home medical care is called home health care. Here, you will be directed to home health care agencies experienced in caring for patients diagnosed with a wide range of conditions and requiring constant care and support.

What are home care services? 

While home health care services are prescribed and medical services, home care services are not defined and typically cover non-medical services. For example, your senior relative slips and falls in the bathroom. She breaks her leg but is otherwise unhurt. The doctor prescribes treatments but doesn’t provide any prescription for home health family services and home health aid workers.

But your senior relative is in pain, and she needs help with her day-to-day activities such as bathing, using the toilet, changing her clothes, cooking, doing the laundry, shopping etc. You can’t stay home to provide this care. In such situations, you can visit home care agencies and hire the services of home care providers.

Unlike home health aides, these home care providers are not qualified to offer medical care and support. But they do help the patient with day-to-day activities and being a companion for the duration of the service.

A breakdown of the differences between home health care and home care services 

Now let’s understand the difference between home health care and home care services. Let’s do a deeper assessment of their services:

Who is it for? 

Both the home health care services and home care services are designed to be used by patients who are physically unable to care for themselves. But, the difference is that:

Home health care services are for patients who have a medical requirement of home health aides. For your doctor to prescribe home health aid workers, you or your relative must:

  • Have received a consultation or treatment from a recognized medical institution.
  • Be homebound – this can also include bed-bound or wheelchair-bound.
  • Does not have anyone who can care for them at home once they leave the hospital.
  • Does not have anyone who can drive them to the hospital for check-ups.
  • Require a skilled medical care provider or a requirement for home health aides specialized in caring for a specific condition.

If a patient fails to meet any of these criteria, they may not be recommended home health care services.

Home care services are less stringent than home health care services in terms of who can access this care:

  • Anyone who is physically unable to care for themselves and needs day-to-day support.
  • Someone who does not need medical care but requires a companion who can help them perform their routine activities.

Who organizes the care? 

If you require home health care services, a doctor needs to prescribe home health aides. Once your consultation and diagnosis are over, your doctor may tell you about possible home health care needs. Sometimes, the decision to hire home health care workers comes at a later stage during the treatment. Irrespective of when the decision is made to hire home health aides, your doctor recommends home health care agencies to you and gets you in touch with them.

Often, home health care agencies consult with your doctors to ensure the home health care workers with the right qualifications are provided to you. These aides will also keep a log of the patient’s health, so your doctor can have the latest medical information to dispense further treatments.

On the other hand, home care service providers are not associated with hospitals. If you would like to hire the services of a home care provider, you do not need a doctor’s prescription and neither will they give you one. You will need to contact the home care agency yourself, discuss your needs with them, and they will send over a suitably qualified home care provider to your home.

How long is the care hired for? 

Home health care services do have specific restrictions in terms of the duration of the service received. This typically is based on the type of condition cared for, the medical insurance coverage and the state’s specific healthcare guidelines. Most conditions limit 60 days of home health care, but a few neurological conditions can qualify for unlimited, permanent home health care.

In comparison, home care services are usually at the discretion of the caretakers or family of the patient. So, your family can choose how long to hire home care providers.

What skills does the home health aide or home care provider need to possess? 

Home health care workers need to possess specialized medical knowledge and expertise about the patient’s condition.

Since home care providers only assist with day-to-day activities, they don’t need any special medical knowledge. However, most are trained in first aid.

Can the care service be extended? 

Doctors need to prescribe any extension of home health care for patients. Plus, your medical insurance needs to support your needs. Only then will it be extended.

However, home care services can be extended by the family at any time.

Does medical insurance cover this care? 

Most medical insurance providers don’t offer coverage for either home health care or home care services.

Starting a home health care and home care business 

So, let’s say you don’t want to apply for home health care and home care services yourself; rather, you want to start such a business.

If you’re considering starting a home health care agency yourself, you need to consider what type of patrons you will have. Additionally, you will need to know which doctors to stay in touch with, so they recommend your agency over another. You will also need to ensure that you hire the right group of experienced and talented home health aides who will be able to support the needs of your diverse patient base.

Most importantly, it’s imperative to remember that the responsibilities of a home health care services provider are incredibly precarious. Patients are vulnerable and sensitive. Anything can happen which may jeopardize their health. At no point should the family or the law point fingers at you and claim negligence. This is why you need to protect your business and your home health care workers from accusations that can threaten your firm’s existence.

Similarly, suppose it’s a home care business. In that case, you will need to ensure that your home care providers are protected against any accidents, injuries or unintended oversights while they care for their wards. 

Professional liability insurance can help you here. 

Keeping your agency safe from harm 

Insurance for Home Care Providers and Home Health Care Services are designed for the bespoke protection of home health care and home care businesses.

With liability insurance for home health care and home care, you will be able to repay your company from accusations of:

·     Improper medical care

·     Negligence towards duty.

·     Non-discharging of duty.

·     Misrepresentation of patient health to a doctor

…and more.

Such claims can cost your company its license to operate, not to mention burden you with immense debt. If you pay the fine, you may not have the finances necessary to continue running the business.

With the home care and home health aid insurance, you will have the financial protection necessary to take on any claims that patients’ families make about you. With this professional liability insurance for home health care and home care businesses, you’ll be able to ensure that your services don’t screech to a halt because of a lack of finances. You can continue to care for your patients.

Some home care and home health aid insurance providers also offer Miscellaneous Medical Liability Insurance for cybersecurity attacks, where a patient’s medical or financial information may be at risk of leaking. This insurance will protect your company if it does get hacked or you are accused of leaking confidential patient information outside.

Compare home health care insurance quotes and find the policy that fits your business needs.

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