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What Is Home Care?

what is home care

Home care provides professional services for a person, typically someone who is in poor health or who cannot regularly attend a physician’s office, to live at home. It includes a broad range of services and levels of care. Here are different types of home care services that are included. If you’re looking for ways to prepare financially for the future in order to cover insurance or other home health needs, consider working with a financial advisor

Understanding Home Care

Home care allows people with medical conditions, special needs or disabilities to receive care in the comfort of their own homes. Not only can this make the one receiving care more comfortable, but it is also more affordable than long-term care (LTC) facilities.

Home care is often suitable for older individuals, but it can also be ideal for those who are chronically ill or are recovering from surgery. Home care often requires a prescription from a doctor; however, some kinds of home care, like personal care, don’t require a prescription. As you can see, home care doesn’t come down to a particular kind of service. Home-based activities that require an experienced professional’s help can be considered home care.

Types of Home Care

what is home care

Home care is a broad term that can include many types of services. Home care services might include personal care, private duty care and home healthcare. They can also sometimes be called long-term care solutions, though that type of care typically takes place in a facility like a nursing home. Let’s take a closer look at how each one of these works.

Personal Care

Personal care involves helping a person with their day-to-day activities. For example, they might need help with dressing, bathing, cooking, cleaning and moving around the house. In general, it is more focused on these daily tasks and not necessarily on providing medical care. As such, personal care does not require a prescription. Care can be provided 24 hours a day.

Other duties or services that might be included in personal care are:

  • Transfer from wheelchair to bed or to a toilet
  • Preventing falls
  • Housekeeping
  • Errands
  • Transportation to appointments
  • Supervision for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia

Another aspect of personal care is companionship. Someone receiving home care might live alone and having someone to talk to can help their recovery. In some cases, personal care providers might even participate in hobbies or activities with the person receiving care.

Private Duty Nursing Care

This type of home care is more focused on treating specific medical conditions or injuries. It might involve tending to ventilators, feeding tubes, catheters or other medical devices. It may also include tasks such as monitoring vital signs or administering medications. This type of care requires a prescription. Care can be provided 24 hours a day.

Home Healthcare

Home healthcare often involves specialized care in treating a specific condition or concern. For example, it might include physical or occupational therapy, social work or short-term nursing services. These visits are usually short-term and can last up to one hour. A doctor’s prescription is necessary to start care.

What Is the Purpose of Home Care?

The goal of home care can vary depending on the condition and needs of the person receiving care. For example, for some, it might be to help them recover and regain their independence. For others, it might be to help them maintain their current conditions. Others might be in a slow decline, and the goal of home care in this case is to make the person as comfortable as possible and see that all their needs are met.

Home care depends on the needs of the care recipient. Thus, their needs should be clear in advance to ensure they receive the proper level of care.

Is Home Care Covered by Insurance?

Home care might be covered by insurance. However, whether it is covered depends on the type of care and your insurance provider. For example, most types of insurance cover private duty nursing care, including private insurance, veterans’ benefits, Medicaid and workers’ compensation. In contrast, home health services are typically only covered by Medicare or private insurance. Ask your insurance provider before starting care if the services will be covered.

The Bottom Line

What is home care?

Home care includes a range of services administered to a person in the comfort of their own home. They can include anything from assisting with daily activities to providing medical care at home. The person might be recovering from an injury or illness, or they might simply need help with everyday tasks. Some are focused on recovery, while others have chronic conditions. Care is provided based on the needs of the patient and should be factored into their individual budget.

Tips for Insurance Planning

  • Insurance doesn’t always cover home care, which could create financial stress. A financial advisor can help you create a plan that works in your unique situation. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help with your home care needs, get started now.
  • Life insurance can sometimes help cover home care. If your insurance won’t cover the care you need, check your insurance policy to see whether home care is covered. For more information about life insurance, see SmartAsset’s life insurance guide.

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