Home health care is a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Home health care is usually less expensive, more convenient, and just as effective as care you get in a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF).

Examples of skilled home health services include:

  • Wound care for pressure sores or a surgical wound
  • Patient and caregiver education
  • Intravenous or nutrition therapy
  • Injections
  • Monitoring serious illness and unstable health status

In general, the goal of home health care is to treat an illness or injury. Home health care helps you:

  • Get better
  • Regain your independence
  • Become as self-sufficient as possible
  • Maintain your current condition or level of function
  • Slow decline

What should we expect from our home health care?

  • Doctor’s orders are needed to start care. Once our doctor refers us for home health services, the home health agency will schedule an appointment and come to your home to talk to you about your needs and ask you some questions about your health.
  • The home health agency staff will also talk to our doctor about our care and keep our doctor updated about our progress.
  • It’s important that home health staff see us as often as the doctor ordered.

Examples of what the home health staff should do:

  • Check what you’re eating and drinking.
  • Check your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate, and breathing.
  • Check that you’re taking your prescription and other drugs and any treatments correctly.
  • Ask if you’re having pain.
  • Check your safety in the home.
  • Teach you about your care so you can take care of yourself.
  • Coordinate your care. This means they must communicate regularly with you, your doctor, and anyone else who gives you care.

Home Health Agency:

Home Health Agency a public agency or private organization that is primarily engaged in providing skilled or paraprofessional home health care to individuals in out-of-hospital settings, such as private homes, boarding homes, hospices, shelters, and so on. Its policies must be established and supervised by professional personnel, including one or more physicians and one or more registered nurses. It must maintain clinical records on all patients. In states with laws licensing such agencies, it must be licensed pursuant to such laws and approved as meeting the standards established for such licensing. It must also meet certain other requirements as specified in the Social Security Act, section 1861 (o).

A Home Health Agency (HHA) is an agency or organization which:

  • Is primarily engaged in providing skilled nursing services and other therapeutic services; Has policies established by a group of professionals (associated with the agency or organization), including one or more physicians and one or more registered professional nurses, to govern the services which it provides;
  • Provides for supervision of above-mentioned services by a physician or registered professional nurse;
  • Maintains clinical records on all patients;
  • Is licensed pursuant to State or local law, or has approval as meeting the standards established for licensing by the State or locality;
  • Has in effect an overall plan and budget for institutional planning;
  • Meets the federal requirements in the interest of the health and safety of individuals who are furnished services by the HHA; and
  • Meets additional requirements as the Secretary finds necessary for the effective and efficient operation of the program.
  • For purposes of Part A home health services under Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, the term “home health agency” does not include any agency or organization which is primarily for the care and treatment of mental diseases.

Differences Between Home Care and Home Health Care:


Differences Home Care Home Health Care
TYPE OF CARE Home care provides “non-clinical” or “non-skilled” care by professional caregivers. Home health care provides “clinical” or “skilled” care by licensed nurses and therapists.
SERVICES Home care helps with everyday tasks like bathing, dressing, grooming, cooking, cleaning and transportation. It does not include medical care like nursing or therapy. Home health care services are more medical in nature. Home health aides are available to help with things like bathing, grooming and dressing until you are safely able to do them again or have a caregiver who can safely assist you. But the focus of care is skilled nursing and therapy.
ELIGIBILITY Since people usually pay for home care out of pocket, there are no eligibility requirements. Home health care requires a doctor’s order. Patients have to meet certain eligibility criteria. For example, they must have limited ability to leave their home and require assistance to do so.
PAYMENT Home care is typically paid directly by the patient or long-term care insurance. Medicaid may also cover home care. Home health care is covered by Medicare, Medicaid and most private insurance plans for eligible patients.
CARE TEAM Family members and professional caregivers provide home care services. The home health team is made up of skilled professionals such as nurses and therapists.
FREQUENCY Home care can help patients 24/7, depending on the patient’s budget and needs. Home health care visits are typically a few hours per week, depending on the patient’s needs and doctor’s orders.
LOCATION Home care is typically provided at home. Patients can receive home health care in their place of residence, including assisted living facilities and group homes.