In San Diego County, and throughout California, home health care is different than home care.
The terminology can be confusing.
If a medical professional prescribes care following a hospitalization or acute incident, it is most likely home health care. The goal of home health care is to prescribe therapies and professional follow up to help the patient regain their independence.
Another important goal of home health care is to avoid another hospitalization or ER visit by that same patient.
An important distinction is who pays for this care.
Home health care is covered by a patient’s MediCare and/or other supplemental health insurance, as long as the care is prescribed by a medical professional.
It’s best to check with your insurance provider to get a detailed list of which services are covered.
Home health care will not cover many hours in the day. These will generally be drop-in visits at prearranged times.
Examples Of Home Health Care
Examples of home health care are a nurse coming to your home to monitor vital signs, check on diet and blood sugar, and check for symptoms and pain. It may also be to perform duties only a licensed nurse legally can, such as giving injections or starting IVs.
Other examples of home health care are visits from therapists. These may be physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, respiratory therapists, or wound care specialists.
Sometimes home health care will include a social worker, or professionals who are a part of a hospice team. And depending upon the prescribing doctor and your insurance policy, some short term hours of non-medical care may be included to get a senior back to independence.
But if the senior will need ongoing non-medical care, you will want to hire an in home caregiver.
How Is Home Care Different?
Home care is non-medical and is always paid privately by the person or family receiving the service.
Rates for home care vary by the home care agency you use, how many hours of care are provided, how many days of care are provided, and what level of care is required. In San Diego County, rates for agency home care average $22-$30 an hour.
Non-medical care is defined as help with Activities of Daily Living – dressing, bathing, toileting, eating, and transferring – as well as performing household duties such as light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, shopping, and transportation.
Some agencies provide both medical and non-medical care.
How To Find Home Health Care
The best way to find a home health care agency is to ask your medical professionals.
He or she should know several agencies they have worked with. Always ask for more than one agency and do your own interviewing.
Just because your health insurance covers the service does not mean you don’t have a choice. It’s important for you to know who’s coming into your home, or your loved one’s home, on a regular basis.