Senior Home Care vs. Senior Home Health Care

Senior home care has two different providers:  one is called home health and paid for by Medicare for short-term care and the other is called non-medical private duty care.  Whenever I ask someone if they know what the term "private duty" means, the answer is "no".  The guesses will be anything from a security system to an off-duty police officer providing protection.  The word "duty" just doesn't seem to fit with home health care.  However, this is the term the industry uses.

What are the differences?

  • Home Health Agency:  provides "skilled" care which includes Registered Nurse (RN), Speech Therapist (ST), Occupational Therapist (OT), Physical Therapist (PT) and Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A.).  Visits by these skilled professionals is paid for by Medicare for "short-term" care, upon doctor's preapproval.
  • Private Duty Non-medical Care:  provides Companion Caregivers, Home Health Aides, Certified Nursing Aides, based on the care needs required and is available by the hour or as 24-hour live-in care. 
The keyword to remember is "health".  Agencies with this word in their name are usually Medicare agencies.  They receive pre-approval for visits and reimbursements by Medicare insurance.  It is important to remember that the skilled care visits provided by Medicare agencies are drop-in visits by these professionals to perform a physical therapy routine, for example, and then they are on their way to their next patient's home.

Seniors who need regular care visits at consistent times and on-going care will use a professional senior home care agency.  These agencies cost between $15 - $25 per hour and $180 - $350 per day and include all of the insurance protections for the insurance and professionally managed care plans and back-up caregivers.  You may view the cost of senior home care and nursing home care nationwide in Caregiverlist's Compare Costs tool.

The New York Times reports that many seniors are unaware of the details required for recovering at home - it sounds easy but in actuality can be very complicated and requires more than good novels, a few DVD's and frozen entrees.  This is where a senior home care agency can become valuable.  Learn about the quality standards for home care agencies and plan ahead for the costs and options of senior care.

Comments (1) -

  • B Koni

    11/24/2010 7:13:56 PM | Reply

    I am considering starting a home based service to seniors, and researching information on every aspect of Seniour Home Care services. Thank you for your clarifications! Any suggestions on where do I get more info on starting and running the SHC business?
    Thanks in advance!


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